12 Mar Looking for Love in Limbo
I am mother to two amazing daughters. One of which is poised and ready to head off to college this fall. Gulp. The process leading up to the moment when she will spread her wings and fly away has been one of the most difficult experiences I can recall. And by difficult, I mean excruciating. I hesitate to say, “No one told me it was going to be this hard” because maybe they did and I just didn’t know how to hear it. Regardless, I have been officially blindsided. Believe it or not, I am not referring to the heartbreak of letting my first born soar into her big, bright, beautiful future, away from our safe, cozy nest. Not yet, anyway. That will come sometime this summer, if not sooner, no doubt about it.
As for now, I’m talking about this crazy, surreal, agonizing moment in time where the answer to everything about my daughter’s future rests in the hands of the Great Unknown. I’ve done work my whole life—especially in the last few years—around trusting the Universe, embracing the unknown and finding comfort in the uncomfortable. This time, right now, feels like the ultimate test of all of these things, and more.
We are in true limbo over here. College visits, long and late nights of application and essay writing, taxes and financial aid paperwork are all behind us and now, we wait. I say We quite deliberately because what happens next is something our entire family is invested in. Acceptance into college and the journey to follow will be my daughter’s thing, in which I will begin to use She. But the process that has led up to now has been, in part, all of ours.
In about 6 weeks from now, everything will be different. Options will have been presented, decisions will be made and the path will be clear. And that’s when I will be writing the heart-wrenching posts of how hard it is let go. Not to mention the “Squeeeeee! She did it!” Facebook updates. But, for the next few weeks, it’s going to be this waiting and wondering period. Even still, if waiting was just about being patient, killing time, enjoying the here and now before everything changes, it might be just fine or even, dare I say, easy. Instead, it’s going to be 6 weeks of time that I can only equate to an epic roller coaster.
Funny, I had meant to write about how hard it was watching my daughter give everything she had to the application process. I couldn’t believe the depth and complexity of that process, how much is expected of kids today and how competitive and stressful it all is. But now, all of that almost pales in comparison to this.
“Mom…” she called to me from the living room, in a tone that scared me. I ran in to see what was wrong. “I didn’t get in…” And so it begins, like punch to the gut. It wasn’t a college decline, it was a specific program she had worked hard to get into. But the tone of her voice, the initial disappointment, tears, anger, confusion, discouragement, self-doubt—that’s going to be the hardest part of this experience. She strewn herself across the couch as the whole family listened and commiserated and tried helped her process it all. After a while I noticed a heart in the holes of her jeans and gently, hopefully, pointed it out and she quickly exclaimed, “I can’t even see it!” Ouch. Her disappointment obviously still palpable and understandably so. With that I have become even more aware that the ups and downs of the next 6 weeks are going to be really intense. I heard it said that we, as parents, feel our children’s pain even more deeply than they do. Considering how all of this is feeling, I’d say that’s probably true.
I keep reminding myself that in a year from now, all of this will be but another distant memory. And I guess it will be. But, being IN IT together right now, feels like the most important thing in the world. The object I suppose is to keep seeking the hearts in the holes; the love in limbo.