This morning, bright and early, College Girl (who I will now refer to as CG1) left for her junior year and a new apartment in Burlington, VT. I was fine. I really was until I saw high school girl (soon to be referred to as College Girl 2 or CG2 as she is no longer in high school) with tears rolling down her face.
You see, this year, CG2 will be embarking on her own college journey so I think we all realized at the hour of 6:30 a.m. that our little family won’t be the same…at least not on a day-to-day basis. Even G our 80-pound pile of Labrador love felt it trying to squeeze herself into the front seat:)
The past few weeks have been a flurry of getting both girls ready for college. CG1 has a new apartment so she needs items like pans, cleaning supplies, silverware. CG2 is moving into a typical freshman dorm so the shower caddy, twin XL sheets and comforter, frames for pictures and all kinds of storage were on her list. So off we went to Ikea, Target and the girls even hit a local flea market for one-of-a-kind items. We have been busy, busy, busy.
Some of this is surreal. I mean it was yesterday that Mr. SB and I were looking at CG1 in the delivery room. We said her name, and she turned to look at us. There was no mistake she had heard our voices in utero and knew exactly who she was looking at now in the world. I mean this was yesterday, right?
Or watching the first time she ate real food, skied, rode and then jumped a horse, rolled over for the first time onto her stomach (this last one was with my mom which was so special). All of those school memories too. Getting on the bus for kindergarten (without a glance back), presenting at fifth grade graduation, having her girlfriends for a sleepover in middle and high school, earning National Honors at her high school, calling us from babysitting to tell us she was accepted at her dream college.
CG2 entered the world two years later – sleeping all day and up at night (threw out my strict schedule that I had for CG1 when she was first born). I remember she smiled so much even at a sick visit doctor appointment. The doctor was sure I was an inexperienced mom and she was just fine. How could she be sick with that beaming smile? She had a 102 temperature by the way – I was not inexperienced at all!
Or the day she was chosen for the spelling bee, read her essay on the danger of drugs to the entire fifth grade, starred in the fourth-grade play, went to her first dance, toured colleges in the south with me last summer, shouted with joy at her acceptance to her dream school, right up to walking across the stage for her high-school diploma? Where does the time go? It plays tricks on us for sure.
The Days are Long but the Years are Short
You see what has hit me is as we say goodbye as they embark on this new stage of life away from us (at least for nine months) – we are also saying goodbye to that baby, toddler, kindergartener, awkward middle schooler, confident high-schooler. We never said goodbye to those younger versions. They just disappeared as we unwittingly moved onto the next phase not really realizing that they had left.
Those early years of parenting had some of the longest days…but as they say, those years were also painfully short.
Of course, our kids come back. Of course I have, as of the time of posting this, had a Facetime tour of her new place. Of course, I will be sending a care package this week (complete with my care package chocolate chip cookies). Of course, we have so much to look forward to (including fall college visits to see them). Of course, empty nest hood will mean time for things that we have put to the back burner.
While this is all true, this time, I know the last phase is over and a new, exciting one is about to begin. I will hug them tight, shed a tear, allow myself to process it all. We parents have been so busy getting them ready to leave for college, it is now time to get ready for our next step too.