Our daughter – the third and youngest – has finally made her college selection for next fall.
She’s excited. She’s even speaking civilly to us again, after the tension of getting accepted into college, taking the college tours, and then finding a decision we can all agree on.
For a moment, she looked at both of our alma maters. My husband would get choked up when he’d tell others, during the one week she considered the school he went to, “She might even go to the school I graduated from!”
She has made her own choice, however. We support her choice and actually think it will be a fine school for her – affordable for us, too (hallelujah!).
I look at her now and realize that it’s finally going to happen. Our last remaining child will be leaving us. Sometimes I look at her and get a little misty eyed. Sometimes she looks at me, and I can see she’s thinking the same thing (in the nice way rather than the “I can’t wait to be out of here” way).
Many of our friends have already got the empty nest. They tell us it’s wonderful and encourage us to celebrate next fall.
In my heart, though, I know it’s a passing of time that is necessary, but final in its own way. Oh, she’ll be back, over and over for summers, holidays and maybe even for a time after graduation. But it won’t be the same.
My baby is leaving home.
It’s a sort of a passage for me, too – from the time when I’m actively involved in raising my kids to this time of change in my life. While it’s been a few years since my days were consumed with driving to dance lessons, sports practice and school, in my mind I’m still an active, full-time mom.
Will my own definition of my role change? Will I stop being first a mom, and maybe take on other primary roles: wife, daughter to my own aging mother?
There is a picture in my mind of a tall, craggy mountain. As a woman, I’ve scaled much of that mountain, selecting a life partner, raising three wonderful daughters, balancing work, home, self.
I’m not convinced that I’m at the top heading down, though. Rather, I choose to believe that the best – the pinnacle – is still ahead of me.
The adventure does, indeed, continue.