It’s been three years since my oldest graduated from high school. It was one of the craziest, most emotional times of my life.
Not long after graduation I found myself sitting in a large auditorium for college orientation. College. It all happened so quickly. High school – graduation – college!
I was excited by all the things awaiting my daughter, but nothing could prepare me for the day I left her there and drove away. She is now a college senior, and I look back on that time of my life and think “I. Survived.”
Many friends are now experiencing the flight of their first born. I’ve been seeing all the awesome graduation photos, and posts about college orientations. Several people are wondering how they will ever handle seeing their babies pack up and leave the nest. I remember that ache so well, and was lucky to have people who had been there before share words of encouragement with me.
I want to say to all the moms who are riding that emotional roller coaster of college – You will survive! It is incredibly difficult, but you will get through it.
Last night I had a dream about the day I drove away from NC State – leaving my first-born behind. It was as if I lived every little moment over again. Dreams have a way of sending a message and something in my subconscious was telling me something.
We had a ball on move-in day with arranging furniture, decorating, and talking about the highly anticipated first weeks. We ran to Target and Best Buy for last minute items, and had one last family dinner. Soon there was nothing left for me to do. My mom duties for the day were over, and a lump rose to my throat (maybe it was the burrito). I felt nauseous…no frightened…maybe a little of both. I did not want to be THAT mother – you know…the one blubbering in the parking lot of the dorm. I felt like I swallowed a golf ball. As we shuffled slowly out to the car I felt them come…the warm tears that I tried to choke back. She cried. I cried. We hugged tightly and that was it. We piled into the car and we drove away.
My family will tell you that I handled things very well. I did most of my crying and such in private. It wasn’t that I was hiding my feelings as much as they were so deep and personal. I needed to come to terms with this new normal as a mother. There was an emptiness in my home that suffocated me. It lasted for some time until one day it simply was not there. I never, ever believed that having my child living away from me would feel normal and routine. My world shifted and a new motherhood normal became my reality. I’ve embraced that reality!
Perhaps my dream was a reminder that I need to feel this again in order to help someone else through their transition. Maybe it was a caution that time is marching quickly with my youngest, and I need to embrace every second with her. Whatever the reason I am aware that I survived one of the most emotionally difficult times in my life. I survived and THRIVED once my daughter went off to college.