I’m not mourning the fact that my oldest is going to college. I’m not sad, I’m not crying, I’m not furiously going through baby pictures of her trying to bring back the newborn, the infant, the toddler, the preschooler, the grade schooler, or the tweener. I’m not dreading the day I drop her off in her small dorm on her own to find herself in this big, wide world.
Maybe it’s because I’m an occupational therapist and my job every day is to look for and encourage progress and moving forward. Maybe it’s because my daughter has been fiercely independent since the day she was born. Maybe it’s because she’s doing her job and challenging me on every stupid little thing right now to make it easier for me to see her leave. Or maybe it’s just that it’s time and it’s absolutely freaking wonderful.
Every milestone is an accomplishment. I remember joking to my husband that if our girls graduated high school without getting pregnant that would be our greatest achievement. We have a sick sense of humor just go with it. Along the way to this point there have been some awesome milestones:
The first time she smiled
The first time she slept through the night (that was the better than almost anything)
The first words she said “cat, meow” followed by telling me exactly where to go and what to do
The first steps she took followed by running and never stopping
The first time she went to preschool all dressed up until I realized it’s preschool and put her in her crappy clothes.
The first time walking up the steps of a school bus
My first parent teacher conference where her kindergarten teacher told me she made her want to pull her hair out of her head in the best of ways
The first play she was in in elementary school
The first time she had girl drama
The second, third and fourth time she had girl drama
Middle school (I don’t like to remember this dark time in our history)
Playing the bari sax for the first time just like I did
Going to sleepaway camp for the first time
Her first time on a horse
Her first fall from a horse
The first time she walked into the doors of the high school where she would one day graduate
The first time she told me she was in love
The first time she told me more than I need or want to know
The first time she went to a prom (followed by every goddamn year after)
The first time she got a job and realized how hard working really is
The first time she got behind the wheel of the car
The first time she showed her weaknesses to me because up until then I didn’t think she had any
There are so many firsts and this is just another one of them. And there will be more firsts along the way and my only hope is that I’m there to witness them and enjoy them and stow them away in my ever fading memory. So I do not mourn my daughter leaving, I embrace it. I am so incredibly proud of the young woman she has become; fierce, independent, brilliant, strong-willed, unyielding, and resilient. So any tears that I shed over her leaving will be tears of joy at how remarkable and incredible this thing called life is. Here’s to you Holly bolly booper face. Get out there and change the goddamn world. And don’t worry, you’ll always have a place on the couch when you come home since we’re turning your room into a study.