I can recall my very first day of college like it was yesterday. Teary-eyed, my parents hugged me tight and sadly pulled away from my dorm. I admit, I was melancholy about leaving home, but the excitement of what lied ahead was intoxicating. I will never forget the look on my younger brother’s face as he sat alone in the backseat of my parent’s car – 15% sadness (will miss her taking me to all the senior parties), 55% happiness (finally get some peace and quiet), 30% resentment (with her gone, they’ll focus ALL their attention to me). The next four years were everything I thought they would be and more. To say I enjoyed college would be an understatement. It was life changing.
Fast forward to present day. “Mommy, tell me what it’s like to live at college”, asks my inquisitive 7-year old daughter. Oh @#$%!….my exact thoughts.
I did not anticipate this question for quite some time and certainly was not ready to answer this question honestly. For several years, my daughter indicated she was NEVER leaving home. She was content with being driven to college and she and her future husband would be living in our home. “Mommy, I will always stay with you”.
Having asked this question in the car with very limited distractions, I could not escape answering my daughter. With hesitation, I recalled my first day of college. Somewhere between explaining how my roommate and I decorated our room to the use of the communal bathrooms and living space, I saw her bright green eyes sparkle with glee. I knew at this moment, her original intentions of staying home with me forever was slipping away.
“Mommy, I think I am going to live at college – or well, at least try it.”
And so it begins. May I look back to this moment ten years from now and recall that exact look in her eye when she first saw all the opportunity that lies ahead. May I take the coming years to do my best to teach, to prepare and to remember that it will be ok to let her go.
As my daughter contemplated who her roommate would be and what she would “be”, my almost five-year old son chimed in,
“Can you sleep in my room with me at night, Mommy when I go to sleep away school?”
“Yes I will,” I answered.
I dedicate this post to a very special mom and her very special daughter who are BOTH embarking on this very special journey. Love you both!