The title of this post has been swimming around in my head for the past few months. It hit me sometime during the week my daughter came home from high school with news of where her senior friends were deciding to go to school. “A year from now.” I thought, “my daughter will be deciding where she will go.” Gulp. Since then, I have been thinking of all the different things I want to write on the subject and have been planning to compile the perfect post. When will I learn that the perfect post never comes? There’s never really the perfect words at the perfect time. Instead, it’s almost always quite the contrary. The words come (perfect or imperfect, depending on how you look at it) when the emotions bring them rushing to the surface. And, as I’m sure most of us have experienced, that never seems to be the right time, let alone perfect.
A few days ago I caught the title of a post from Cathy Zielske in one of my social media feeds; “How am I Going to do This?” and my heart got caught in my throat. I knew exactly what she was writing about. I know that she’s got a daughter, just a year ahead of my own, getting ready to head to college. I didn’t read the post that day. I waited. Until about a half hour ago and I can hardly pull myself together. And now, of course, I must write because the words have come with the emotion, just like they always do. The irony is that we’re having my in-laws over in a few hours to watch the college tour slideshow and I should be making the coleslaw. Timing is everything.
As for the perfect things I wanted to say about all of this right now, that’s not happening. Not now anyway. I’m still a year out after all from seeing my daughter off, but I KNOW how fast this next year is going to go and with this summer being all about the great college hunt, it’s been on my mind almost all the time. It’s been on all of our minds around here. I guess, more than anything, just want to document it. I just want get it down in writing that I’m scared and excited and nervous and eager all at the same time. For her. For me. For all of us.
Despite the inevitable tears, reading Cathy’s post (and so many thoughtful comments from other moms) comforted me. It’s soul soothing when you’re reminded you’re not alone; especially in transitions, uncertainty and bittersweet mama moments. It’s so helpful to read words of those that go before you so that you can gather inspiration and courage and arm yourself with wisdom and truth as you walk as graciously as you can through the parts of motherhood that can both fill you with joy and break your heart (often at the same time). I will carry Cathy’s mantra with me this next year and will certainly cherish our family time together, but will also keep in mind that what comes next for my daughter will be hers to claim; her story, her adventure and her life. And I of course will have the honor and privilege of cheering her on from here, pom-pom in one hand, tissue in the other.