Jillian, Leaving

Good bye Mum II

Good bye Mum II (Photo credit: Annette Blachere)

August 2012

My daughter, fresh and sparkling like a newly opened bottle of champagne continues to have the glow and effervescence from celebrating her 18th birthday. She sleeps in the room across from mine, her eyes closed, her skin radiant like early morning dew. Mornings, when her door is ajar, I sneak a peek at how she looks while she sleeps. Sometimes, I can only see her head, the rest of her body nestled in her blanket.  Once in a while, she sleeps on her back, with her arms straight back, resting on her pillow, a position she used to sleep in as a baby.  I look at her peaceful face and shut the door, ever so quietly, behind me.

I keep track of the number of days left before she heads to her first year of college. I gulp and turn my face away so she doesn’t see me start to cry.  She does not appreciate open displays of emotion, it makes her feel uncomfortable. My “baby”, my blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty, is going away to college, far away. Last year, I drove her brother to his first day at college and I didn’t think it would be that hard again but it is, maybe it’s worse.

“Don’t go” I want to scream out loud and carry on, hysterically and out of control, but I know I can’t do that. I can’t show her how I really feel. This job as “mom” takes on new heights, it is as difficult for me to hide my feelings as it is for my daughter to show hers but I will fake it, for her.  You have to do what is right for your child, not you. The tears sting inside me, my head aches from my effort not to break down in tears but this what parenting is all about. Parenting becomes a whole new paradigm.

We spent a lot of time together this summer and there seemed to be a shift in our relationship, it was warmer, easier, less complicated.  Why couldn’t we be fighting now so the leaving wouldn’t be so painful? I am thrilled she is going to a good school and I hope she will be very happy there but I admit, it will be so quiet in our house without her brother and her. I understand that my sadness is entirely selfish.

On the other hand, my husband and I will have more time for each other. We are finally and officially “empty-nesters” though I despise that term. Recently, after our first dog died of cancer I adopted a puppy so our nest will still have a dog to make some noise, to give us kisses. Of course, it was not a coincidence.  When I fell in love with a small, reddish-brown puppy at the animal shelter I knew I had to give her a home. I named her Lexi.

To my daughter: I love you with all my heart and soul and I will miss you terribly. I’m glad that you are going to college and I am so proud of you and your accomplishments. But, I will miss watching “Friends” with you. I will miss your honey blonde hair wrapped casually but perfectly in a top bun, your keen sense of humor, our veggie burgers eaten together and even your endless love for clothes shopping. This summer was one of the nicest we’ve had together and I hold it and you in my heart forever. Just remember, if you need me, I will always be there for you.  Love you always, Mom

Carry On Tuesday: Dear Students

CIMG2148.JPG

CIMG2148.JPG (Photo credit: afcool83)

Announcement To All Incoming Freshmen.

Welcome to your first year of college. I’m sorry I can’t meet with you in person but this speech has been taped because I am no longer able to leave the President’s house due to my physical limitations.

The President and I want you to have a lot of fun and to work hard and learn many different things. Learn about the things you want to study, and about different people who you will meet from all over the country. We want you to learn about life. Life can be scary and painful sometimes. I hope this never happens to you but unfortunately it may hit you way down the road at some unexpected point.  When you are young you don’t notice those things, because you feel invincible. You should. Enjoy that special time while it lasts because before you know it, you will become a grown-up and it is really not much fun at all. You get older, you have illnesses, physical disabilities that you never thought of when you were in college. That’s good. Enjoy your time here because life, later on, gets more complicated.

I know you won’t listen to me, you are laughing at such a silly old woman, trying to tell a bunch of freshmen to enjoy their youth. I know. I don’t expect you to believe me because I wouldn’t have believed me either and that’s a good thing. Have fun, be safe but enjoy these next four years of absolute joy. Sure, you may squabble with your roommate or be upset over your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend but this will pass, with time. Also, believe it or not, you will learn from all your experiences, good and bad. These years will shape your future life. Don’t waste them.

When you get old, like I am now, the world feels like a dangerous place. You question every symptom you have, every threat of terror, every nuance. The good thing is, you just don’t care that much anymore about what other people think. Surround yourself with good friends and try to appreciate your family, those that love you best and will always love you.

There will be some hard times ahead, I know you can’t picture that but it may happen in the future. Know this, when you have somebody who loves you, someone you can count on, it makes life, a whole lot easier.

Enjoy your time here, welcome to your first year of college. Be safe, be happy, have fun.

Thank you.