I remember, not that long ago, my mom and I listening to two specific songs as I prepared to head off to college.
Letting Go by Suzy Boggus...
And Wide Open Spaces by The Dixie Chicks...
Every time one of them would play, in the years since I graduated high school and then college, I've had flashbacks to those days of anticipation for what was to come. Life was happening, and while that summer before my freshman year seemed to both drag on and fly by, I don't think I was ever "ready" to go.
This summer, Husbeast and I are watching these same emotions; excitement, fear, anticipation, eagerness, play out on the oldest Beastie's face. In just a few weeks we will be taking her to college. We will help her haul stuff up to her dorm, maybe help her unpack and organize some things, get settled a little.
There will be well wishes, hugs, tears and motivational pep talks. Husbeast and I will do a little "letting go" and she will do a little stretching out in her newly found "wide open spaces."
It seems very unreal to me that I am part of the send off. I remember so vividly that day in September 17 years ago (gasp) that Mom and Dad walked me across the lawn to orientation. I was okay at that point. We had moved my stuff in and I thought we would all be attending that first meeting. Part way across that giant lawn, Mom said something and we all stopped. I don't remember her exact words but I remember in my mind thinking "wait. What? You aren't coming with me??" I was 18 but felt 6 all over again. Dad didn't/couldn't talk. I was crying. Mom was too and doing her best to keep us both smiling. I wasn't ready. But they hugged me again and we all turned and headed our separate ways.
It didn't take long, although it seemed to then, but the routine of college life and meeting new people soon overtook the fear I had felt at being away from home and so alone.
I still have a note that Dad left for me that day. It's on yellow, lined, tablet paper. The key point that I've always tried to hold on to from that note is "be You always."
And to my Bonus Daughter, I will leave a similar note with some additions:
*Be YOU always
*Don't be afraid to fail
*Learn to be a learner
*Go for a run
I finally get what Mom and Dad went through, or at least some of it, during my senior year of high school and that fall when I headed off for higher learning. We've had some bumps in preparation, some confusion and some overwhelm. But, at the end of the day, even through the tears, we are all going to find that this journey has been worth all the emotions we have worked through.
It's a new adventure for Husbeast's baby girl, and we both sincerely hope, she spreads those wings and enjoys the ride. As long as she comes home from time to time... ;-)