Monday I took my baby to look at a college.
Ok, so she’s not exactly an infant as that may sound, she’s 17 and a Senior in High School deciding where to go to college.
But she’s my youngest of 2, so she’s one of my babies. Don’t judge me, they will always be my babies.
She’s my artist child, my right-brained thinker, my music lover.
My oldest will save the earth and the animals, and my youngest will paint the world with beauty and music.
No pressure though kiddos.
So she’s 95.5% sure she’s going to a college close to home, it’s a commutable distance but she still wants to dorm it. I completely understand and am just glad she will be close. She’s also decided that while she wants to be an artist, she also loves kids and wants to major in either Music or Art education as a career.
We went on the tour of the college Monday. When we entered the Arts Auditorium, her face lit up and I could see the excitement in her eyes. Then came the old familiar welling up of tears. I choked them back, after all, I didn’t want to embarrass my baby girl almost grown daughter. I’m all too familiar with this feeling, I had a similar feeling when I took my oldest to college. I unloaded her stuff, walked around the campus with her, ate lunch in the cafeteria then we walked together to the parking lot for my 4 1/2 hour drive home. I had been choking back those tears all day too but I thought it was mostly because she would be so far from home, and I’m sure that was a lot of it. As I got in my car that day, I told myself, “Stay Strong!” and somehow held back the flood of emotion and sobbing until after I had driven out of her sight. I wanted to remain strong for her and I didn’t want to embarrass her. As soon as I was out of sight though, I had to pull my car off the road and let loose. I had to release the flood as the dam walls were going to explode. I cried and I wasn’t even sure why. It wasn’t that I was horribly sad, it was more a cry for the swift passage of time, the pride, the fact that she was 4 1/2 hours away, and something else I just couldn’t put my finger on. After I gathered my composure, I got back on the road & called my oldest baby girl and admitted to her that mommy had to pull over and sob. She chuckled a little and admitted she too went back to her room and cried a little. Let me tell you mom’s & dad’s, cutting that umbilical cord is a strange mix of emotions.
So back to my youngest baby girl (something tells me I haven’t completely cut the cords yet….hmmmmm). The entire tour I choked back those feelings again. I was puzzled because I am pretty sure she’s going to be close to home. I’ll be seeing her often (like when she needs her laundry done!) so why these feelings now?
I looked around at these kids, young adults milling about, busy on their way to class, some sleeping on the sofa’s in the library, some studying diligently, some giggling with their friends, that is when I realized this feeling encompasses so many things.
It’s about pride.
It’s about the realization that these little bundle I gave birth to, what seems like just yesterday, is getting ready to move on to the next phase in her life, she’s getting ready to cross that bridge from teen to adult.
Being a parent is about caring for these little lives, feeding them, loving them, nurturing them, guiding them and watching the milestones pass one by one then sending them on to make their mark on this world and start the cycle all over.
It’s such an exciting and unsure time for them, such a mixture of emotions for us.