Friday, August 24, 2012

College Moving In Day Revelations

When I was pregnant, people would smile and tell me, ”When that baby comes, your life will never be the same again.” And I couldn’t wait for that change in my life. My husband and I were planning and choosing baby names and decorating the house. Then that little blessing came into our world and our lives truly were never the same again. And I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Through the years, we have been blessed with two more children. Each time a child comes into your world everything changes. And that is ok. That is part of raising a child. Certainly there are moments of pulling your hair out and worrying and stress. But the love and the laughter, the blessings and joy that come with having a child under your roof will trump out the sad moments in a heartbeat.

Life will never be quite the same again.

2012 has been, and will continue to be, a year of milestones. My girls turned 10 and 18 respectively. My son will be 16 and is working on acquiring his driver’s license. My youngest finished her last year in the lower elementary school and that also marked the end of 13 years there for me. My eldest graduated from high school and is beginning college. Being an emotional person, these milestones brought tears to my eyes – happy tears and sad tears. Some of these moments really brought home the concept of something being bittersweet. My heart was rejoicing at the very same time that it was weeping.

Life will never be quite the same again.

Yesterday, we drove to Aquinas College to drop my oldest off to begin her orientation and her life as a college student. I was able to really enjoy the time getting her dorm room set up and helping to organize things. Lunch was great and we were able to take some time to walk around the campus and enjoy the day. At 2 o’clock all the parents, incoming freshmen, and current students who were helping with orientation met in the athletic building for convocation. They had a beautiful program to kick off their academic year and welcome the Class of 2016. I knew the family time would end at 3 p.m. and the student orientation would go into full swing. I looked at my watch and realized in less than an hour they would be asking us to leave and yet I was able to hold back the tears. At 2:30, I held my breath while I held Trisha’s hand knowing soon enough I would have to let it go. At ten minutes to 3, we were told we had about 10 minutes to share our last parting words of wisdom with our kids before they headed off to get their class picture taken and get busy with their afternoon. It was at that moment the tears began flowing and they haven’t quite stopped yet.

Life will never be quite the same again.

As I fell asleep last night and woke up this morning, I was contemplating why this was so difficult for me. When I held her for the first time, life as I knew it had ended and a new chapter began. We brought her home and lived. All the life events happened together as a family. We were a unit and shared the joys and sorrows of life together under one roof. We watched her grow and learn and mature. We watched her laugh and cry and explore. We lived… together.

I realized that this hurts my heart so deeply because everything has changed. She will be growing and learning and maturing, but not here at home. She will be laughing and crying and exploring, but not under this roof. She will stumble at times. She will soar at times.  If we have done our job well as parents, we have given her the foundation to do all of these things and to flourish in her journey. I know she will always be my daughter and I will be able to celebrate all of her achievements and support her in tough times and wonderful times. However, the knowledge she is outside of the circle of my arms is a difficult pill to swallow. The only thing that makes it easier is knowing that she will never be outside the circle of my heart.

Even so, life will never be the same again.

Our family is like the branches on a tree.
We may grow in many different directions,
yet our roots remain as one.
Each of us will always be a part of the other.