There are two things in life that are certain, death and taxes so they say. But there is something else that is certain if you happen to be a parent, and that is that your heart will undoubtedly be broken a thousand times. I have written many blogs about beautiful tables, and how to update and design your home, but my favorite writing is always about the people that are in my tribe, and more importantly, surviving family life.
I have a lot words under my belt, and it continues to be a source of therapy for me when I am facing a challenge. I truly appreciate that so many of you keep coming back to read my thoughts and support me. It lets me know that I’m not alone, that none of us are alone. Today, my friends, a challenge is upon me. This is the tough stuff.
I am taking child number two to college. I am not sure how the heck this happened, but it is indeed here. It is completely surreal, and for those of you that have been through it, I know you understand. You have this perfect little person who comes into your life completely helpless. They rely on you to feed them, and love them. Then they begin to get a little bit bigger, and you start to see who they are. This crazy personality starts to emerge, and it’s just about the coolest thing in the world. They make you laugh, and you are in awe. You are covered in poop, and vomit, and a shower is a thing of the past. You lose yourself for a bit, but you also wonder what you did before this astonishing little creature was born.
Emma was no different. She was late to arrive by about 5 days. At first my labor was easy, then my water broke at home. It went from zero to one-hundred in a blink. We flew to the hospital. Within just a few hours, into the world came our chubby-cheeked little miss. She was the biggest baby of our three at eight pounds, fourteen ounces, and she was a pistol from the second that she took her first breath.
She hated to nap, she hated strollers, she hated being confined in any way. Once she walked, she was always ten steps ahead of us. Honestly, she was exhausting. I cried A LOT, well she did too, but it was probably me more than her!! But this little strawberry-blonde was also incredibly smiley, loving, and happy. You could see this part of her personality even as a teeny little lady. She was a peanut of thing after being a big baby. I swear she weighed twenty pounds for five years. She was always 90th percentile in height and about 15th in weight. But she was healthy and strong.
She liked to play in the dirt with her brothers, and pick up frogs and bugs, but she did it wearing a tiara, and sometimes a pink dress. She loved, and still loves, her big brother and her little brother fiercely, and she’d do anything for them, as they for her.
She is an old soul, and has always connected with people of all ages. She is a consummate care giver and takes care of so many little ones. She loves her people hard. She potty-trained herself at around eighteen months. She woke up and said, “mama I wanna wear unduhwear!” And seriously, that was it.
I could go on and on about all of the funny and amazing things she did growing up, but honestly it would be ridiculously long. I more importantly want to talk about the now.
She is beautiful on the outside, there is no doubt. This a compliment that I receive and she receives often. But outside beauty, in my opinion, is only of value if it is matched on the inside. And let me tell you, her inside beauty radiates like the brightest light you’ve ever seen. She cares about others so deeply that it is almost to a fault. Sometimes it has gotten the best of her, but that’s ok. She is a wonderful friend, and loyal, so loyal.
She always has your back, and although she often sits quietly in the shadows, if you come after one of her people, look out, she gets loud. She builds others up. Whether it’s dance, art, school classes, or something else, she never worries about getting attention, but is always supportive of others who do, even if she deserves it. This is hard to watch as a mama sometimes, but she has taught me not to sweat the small stuff, and I’m getting better at this.
To know her is to love her. And let me tell you, people love her, truly love her. I think that it’s impossible not to. She has no enemies. She wants to make others happy. Her biggest fault is that she hates to disappoint anyone, so sometimes this one bites her in the ass, but seriously, is that even a fault?
She has known from the time she was little that she wanted to be a doctor, that goal has not changed. She is headed now on that path, and I pray she can achieve every dream that she has set for herself. So now, I have to let her go. How can I possibly do this? I really have no idea. I had to do it with her brother, so I know I can, but with her it’s different. Not only is she my little girl, she is my friend. We have so much fun together. She tells me what to wear, and her fashion sense is impeccable, we watch shows together, we laugh and we cry. I genuinely adore her company.
She inspired me to try something new and set out on a new career path, heading fully into design. It’s where I’ve wanted to be for a long time, and now I’m working to achieve my dreams. She gave me the courage to do it. She reminded me that you can teach this “old dog” new tricks.
I want to keep her home, and safe by my side. I want to be able to see her everyday, and know that she is ok. I want to literally tie her to the couch so she can’t go. I know, I know that’s excessive, but it’s how I feel.
But this kid, she is ready. She needs to go. She wants to go. It is her time. But why does it have to hurt so darn much? My heart feels like it’s broken, and I can’t catch my breath when I think about it. These are the things they don’t tell you about being a parent. With each passing milestone, your heart breaks just a little bit more. As they begin their path to independence, and they begin to drop your hand, you feel lost.
The good news is that their is an upside. Watching them begin to carve their own path fills you the most incredible joy and pride you will ever feel. To know they are strong enough to push you into the background is absolutely, freaking amazing.
There are two quotes that I love. I am sharing them because sometimes there are moments that my own words can’t reach. One I have used many times about all three of our children is this, “To raise a child that is comfortable enough to leave you, means you’ve done your job. They are not ours to keep, but to teach how to soar on their own” –author unknown. This rings true I’m sure for all of us. They are not ours to keep, as painful as it is.
She is going to set this world on fire in every way possible. So, I will end with this. I bought this print for her to take to school. ” They whispered to her you cannot withstand the storm. I am the storm she whispered back!” May God watch over you and bless you always, our dear precious Emma. There is no doubt that you are indeed the storm. So go out and share all of your gifts with this messed up world. Make it better. Do not ever compromise who you are, or what you believe in for anyone. I promise, I’ll let you go, I might just cry a little.
xoxo Mom (aka Deb)
7 thoughts on “The Art of Letting Go, Well Not Really….”
Such a loving mama! She really is ready to keep herself safe. Believe me you will be needed to mother her quite a lot from a state away. I told Bitsy today to BE the storm too from that poster. She did it and made progress. Sending you oodles of bubbles of mama love
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I love that you used that today too. Thanks so much my dear friend. Love you!
Debbie, This beautiful tribute to your daughter will always be one of her greatest treasures. She is one of your three most important legacies, and you can take so much pride in turning her out into the world knowing that you have given her all of the tools she needs to become independent, successful, and prepared to follow in the footsteps she will soon fill. You and Nate are so lucky. I call graduation from High School and going of to college as the first MAJOR milestone in a young persons life. Just as a bird leaves its nest, she is now going to fly on her own, but don’t be sad. You’ve prepared her well, and after the bittersweet tears you’ll shed when you say ‘Good Bye’, you will soon know the joy of sharing in all of her new experiences. You will spend hours on the phone, and be thrilled for her as she giggles over the cute guy in her English class. It is so exciting for a parent to take this journey with your children, and the wonderful thing is, the journey never ends. I have one wish for Emma as she takes this next step……..may she be as fortunate as Kristin was to get a roommate that will be with her in heart and soul for the rest of her life. You have no idea how happy that will make you to know that it is one of the first steps she takes in her new life and it will set the tone for what comes next. College isn’t just book learning, it’s life learning, and learning how to be a friend is something to cherish. I’ll be excited to share a little bit in her journey.
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So true Carleen. Thank you for your sweet words and encouragement. I wish all of this for her as well. Can’t wait to share all that she is up to with you. Sending love your way.
Just beautiful written… a mother and daughter bond like your can never be broken and she will forever have. No doubt that she will sore to an amazing height because her parents loved her so…and because of you she will know exactly how to be not only a woman but a mother, mentor, and friend to her own daughter or son because you showed her how! You know like your momma showed you. Now that my friend and amazing mother is a legacy that will forever live on! Its moments like this I hear angels singing on the highest! Cheers.
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Thank you so much Karrie! I so appreciate your sweet words! We all will be ok.