Seven weeks since the youngest daughter left for college on the East Coast, no less leaving zero option of her coming home for a weekend visit. I am doing fine. I’m making plans, filling my schedule, attending events, having friends over, when all of a sudden it hits me…..sadness comes and the tears begin to flow. What? I’ve been preparing for this for several years now—this was going to be a piece of cake! I wasn’t a clingy mom type. I encouraged the girls to make a life for themselves, to follow their dreams and create their own lives. I cheered them on in their endeavors. I knew they were on loan for me to raise and nurture. I knew having them with me was for a season. I knew it. Yet I am crying. I am sad.
Funny how one’s perspective on so many things can change in the blink of an eye. Oh, I remember those voices telling me, Enjoy them while you have them as they will be gone one day. Amid the piles of dirty dishes, laundry and messes throughout the house, that day seemed light years away. Yet that day arrived. Never was there a voice preparing me for all their departures. I don’t believe anyone can prepare you for this. It is solitary road of emotions. Yes, friends are here, but the grief of this immense alteration of lifestyle can only be mine to feel.
When Audrey climbed into her bed for the final night at home she was beaming with excitement in anticipation of her new adventure, driving off to college early the next morning. We stayed up late chatting and playing cards, both for our own reasons—hers because she was so excited and couldn’t sleep, and mine not wanting the night to end. Finally with hour late I tucked her in bed one last time and hugged her profusely, much to her annoyance. I stood in her doorway with my hand on the light switch, knowing this would be my last night as “Mom” as I knew it! She assured me, “Mom I will be back.” I know, sweetheart, but it won’t be the same. You don’t understand and that’s ok, but I know what this moment means. Smiling at her beautiful young face with my hand on the light switch, I switched it off, then on, off, on, off, on, off, on, off, on, off, on. We laughed together at the silliness of it. As if not turning the light out would prevent the inevitable. She could not grasp the magnitude of this moment; how could she? Off, on, off, on and finally off, with tears streaming down my face I could not utter the words, Good night. I had said those words thousands of times before but not tonight. Those words were way to final. They represented an end of so much in my life. I simply said……”I’ll see you in the morning.” In the darkness I turned from her doorway, pain gripping my heart. I walked silently toward my room, crawling into bed, wondering how long can I stay here? Not long. Morning came, her final bags were loaded in the car, she climbed in, seat belt fastened, window down, one last hug, and just like that she was gone.