A New path to walk
I wrote this piece after Kailyn left for college. In case you’re closing in on that season…
How could I possibly leave her? I can’t. It’s all too much. The overpowering lump in my throat grew tighter the closer to we got to her new normal. I reminded myself to keep it together. I repeated it over and over until I could no longer. I had no choice but to let the tears flow out. I had thought about this day for years. She was the first to go. I knew she was ready, but my heart hurt. I knew college would change, define & refine her, but I thought she was perfect the way she was. I had given her all of me and the simple fact I wouldn’t be able to keep her safe was the thought that threw my emotions over the edge. What if they don’t know how amazing she is? What if she forgets that she is? What if she settles for something less than what she deserves? Have I done the very best I can at providing her that security in herself?
I look back at my own mother in the back seat of the car and we both give each other a look. She knows. I know.
We pull into the school and I can feel her anticipation like a blanket. I am reminded that I never got to feel this feeling. I had her at 18 and although I’d never change a minute of my story, I don’t really know what she is experiencing. I can only imagine having an opportunity to be away from her three siblings was inviting enough, she would have her own rules, her own agenda, her own space to call hers.
I am quickly put back into reality when we must move her million boxes up to the dorm room and get her settled. I can tell she’s grateful for the help, but eager for us to go so she can get settled in her own way. Mellisa, you’re hovering.
We grab all the moving trash and head out to the parking lot to give our goodbyes. Wait, I’m just supposed to leave you here? Get it together momma. You’ve done your job. You got her here.
She knows it’s coming. She knows how hard this is for me. She knows the bond we have. She knows that for me I’m literally driving away from part of my heart. She gives me one of her sympathetic looks. She knows me too well. The innate ability to know if I’m hiding something, burying it deep. Hugs are tighter than normal, I breathe her in. She was the one. The one who saved me. The one who made me better. The one who taught me to love. Lord keep her safe.
I embrace her and am reminded of all the memories at once. Like a wave of keepsakes that have always been there. We drive away and I look back once more closing my eyes so that I can remember. Store the image in my safe place of memories.
A new normal
I may sound pathetic or even a little dramatic but it took me a solid 6 months to get used to the new normal of the house. To not see her everyday, calls spaced out, and a new relationship was bloomed. It was all very odd and I was lost for awhile. Her siblings had to adjust as well. Especially that relationship in the above picture. I remember I prayed that their bond would stay strong even in her absence. She’s starting a new chapter this fall as she leaves to study abroad and I just think of how lucky we are. How lucky I am to have raised this child. She still needs me and I still need her. I hope that never changes. I hope there will always be a space for me.
To all you mommas who have children leaving the nest this year. I see you. I feel you. You are not alone.