A Year From Now

A Year From Now

One of my favorite recent portraits of my daughter. She edited the shot, captured by her dear friend.

One of my favorite recent portraits of my daughter. She edited the shot, captured by her dear friend.

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.


  • cathy
    Posted at 11:38h, 04 August Reply

    Of course, I had to stop, drop and read, Tracy, when I saw your post. “Pom-in one hand, tissue in the other”… that’s how I feel right now, and yep, my eyes are filled with tears.

    My girl is in Wisconsin today at her orientation. Dan went with her for this one. Seems only fair. I went to the one in Illinois.

    That mantra is the most important thing to me know. And yes, the comments people shared had me both in tears, but also feeling more and more like I will do this with grace and maturity. I have no choice, truly. Big hugs to you, friend.

    • Tracey
      Posted at 13:12h, 04 August Reply

      I’m thinking so much about you right now Cathy. Can’t wait to keep following along on your journey through this. xo

  • Liz
    Posted at 12:50h, 04 August Reply

    {HUGS} Tracy! I went through this for the last time in 2009 with our youngest daughter. I found comfort in the realisation that we as Moms, do a terrific job of bringing our children up to be confident and self sufficient young adults. But I know it still hurts and your last line about the pom-pom and the tissue brought back those bittersweet moments I experienced in 2009! You’ll do just fine – and so will your beautiful daughter! More {HUGS}

    • Tracey
      Posted at 13:13h, 04 August Reply

      So true Liz! Thanks for that. xo

  • Michelle
    Posted at 18:05h, 04 August Reply

    Oh-I felt like I just got punched..but in a different way. We received the Senior Picture letter in the mail last week and that was the first “punch.” Then came the FB posts about Senior Round Up…another “punch.” On Wednesday we visit his first choice, Saint Mary’s College. I feel the blows already coming. How can I let him go? Of course we have nurtured him for this moment, but who nurtured me in preparation for this? Well, it started with Cathy’s blog about her daughter. I watched Aiden grow up and it tugged at my heart…Cathy’s words have stuck with me. It is about them. Your post sealed the deal.

    I will sit back and watch, love, continue to nurture and breathe. I will be strong. I will be better knowing that there are other moms out there willing to be honest about how they are feeling. We will all virtually hold hands as we prepare for “A Year from Now.”

    I sound so brave now…I will be honest, probably won’t be this way next August 4th.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Kuleen
    Posted at 13:48h, 05 August Reply

    My eldest started freshman high school band last week. Four short years left. That just isn’t enough time.

  • renee @ savoring life through the lens
    Posted at 14:36h, 05 August Reply

    oh, wow…my eyes are filled with tears. i’m only 5 years in and what i’ve come to learn is that the word “bittersweet” is pretty much said over and again with these life transitions with our kids. my kids aren’t anywhere near “sending off to college” age yet, but as I read your words, I feel like this has been me all summer, except, with the anticipation of sending my first daughter off to kindergarten. all summer, especially all of july, it’s all i’ve been thinking about. i just can’t believe it’s time for her to go big kid school…a big difference from 3 hours, m-f, in pre-k. i’ve always said, once she starts school, it’s gonna fly be even faster. and i know, this year, will fly by, too!! and when it’s my time to start thinking “college” with my kids, i know i’m going to feel this same way…i don’t think these mama thoughts ever quiet, huh? 🙂 but, you’re exactly right…it’s her story, her adventure, her life…words i have to remind myself daily…and kinder isn’t anywhere near college. 😉 i’m SO glad to have words of wisdom from mothers who have traveled this path before me…it brings me comfort, too!!

  • sarahs - redlinedesign®
    Posted at 15:25h, 05 August Reply

    Tracey I am traveling this road with you right now. My son, Ben is just about to begin his senior year as well. As I am writing to you, he is across the table with a very large board filled with all the schools he is applying to, due dates for the applications and post its filled with possible responses to all the questions on the common app and the supplements. I am choking back tears of both joy and sadness as he is delving into his college choices. I know he will be going far away and I have a year to come to terms….happy to take on this adventure with you though and hope you continue to share.


  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 20:28h, 05 August Reply

    This was beautiful to read, Tracey–you guys have gotten me all in a tizzy thinking SIX MORE YEARS is all I have left with kid #1. xo

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