I had one rule for leading up to and moving my kid to college last fall: DON’T MAKE THIS HARDER FOR HER.
I also had one rule for writing about it: DON’T WRITE ABOUT IT UNTIL YOU’RE READY.
So here we are. And I’ve somehow accomplished both goals.
To be honest, both of those goals are a work in progress. If I wrote about it before we were all ready, whatever I say could make things harder for her. (IF she read it.) And that, in turn, would make things harder for ME. And then I wouldn’t be ready to write about it anymore. BUSTED.
I honestly don’t know if I will finish OR post this. Just kinda feeling like I should try.
On our last day at Disneyland last summer, I was adamant about seeing the fireworks. Adamant in such a way that I single-handedly proved all the crazy mom theories. Because we almost missed it. It’s not that we planned poorly, we just had to race from one park to the other after a particularly unreliable (and therefore unexpected) wait-time pushed us to the limit. Our family was a little frazzled from the rushing back, and one of us was mad about missing a last ride on one of their favorite rides, but since I proved all the crazy mom theories…well, you can imagine that things were tense at first. We made it to Main Street just as everything started.
And we all know how Disneyland can put on a show.
It was fucking magical. Even if we kinda hated each other for the first minute and a half.
With a space opening up in the crowd, two of us moved over to get a better view. For the briefest moment, I was disappointed that the four of us weren’t standing together. But then I glanced in front of me and watched the flashes of light and reflections dance across the face of this kid of mine who was quickly becoming anything but. And I selfishly kept every bit of that moment to myself.
I watched her love every minute. I watched her look at the “magic” much like she did when she was little…and as she watched with all the wonder and joy in this place that we love, I watched HER in just the same way.
I was in awe of her.
And I was in awe of that moment…there…with HER.
It didn’t matter that I wasn’t ready for everything to change. It was already changing. But I think that was when I decided that it was okay that I wasn’t ready – that I may never be ready. I gave myself permission to not “get over it” even though I believed that’s what I was supposed to do. I was so focused on not being “that parent” I didn’t entertain the possibility that this was just my new normal and you just learn to make the best of it. I would just have to get used to part of my heart living hundreds of miles away.
Or just inches in front of me. Watching fireworks…pretending that her mother wasn’t completely losing it behind her.
(You guys, I was totally losing it behind her.)
But I’m pretty sure that moment, in some strange way, allowed me to not make an ass of myself as we drove away from her a couple months later.
(Okay…this was a start…) (More later…)