Thursday, August 29, 2013

End of a Era

I dropped Jennifer off at Heritage Halls today.

We have been making quick trips over to her dorm room to drop stuff off for two days now but today I came home without her. I felt like crying in the car but it seemed silly. I am so excited for her - a new phase of life.

I remember so clearly the day my dad dropped me off at Heritage Halls. I was in Young Hall. Excited and very nervous. We unloaded my stuff. Stood there awkwardly for a moment (as I subdued the urge to grab my suitcase and go home with him), we hugged and he was gone. I kind of wanted to cry - I could have too because none of my roommates were there - but I unpacked instead. My home was over 700 miles away and I knew no one. Soon enough, my roommates were there and it was like a big slumber party as we got to know each other over the next few days. Then the learning began in earnest - classroom learning but more importantly - real life learning.

Jennifer is not even close to the first one I have dropped off at Heritage Halls. Every time it has meant a change in our family. New dynamics, sometimes a change of bedrooms for those left at home. I have mourned a little at the end of my "active mothering phase" for each child, but today was different. I came home to a silent empty home. (Christian will move out in two days but he was at work.) I am now the mother of all adult children. My children no longer need me in the same way they used to. They do not need me to pack lunches, cook their dinners or remind them of things. No more piano recitals, meetings with school counselors or Scout/YW evenings. Do I celebrate or cry? Both I think.

Tonight, I miss my children; I miss my grandchildren and the house and my heart seem empty. I wonder and hope that I have taught them what they need to be successful in life - but I can still teach, mentor and love them, it's just different.

On Friday my life will go back to what it was like some thirty years ago. Just me and my best friend - only it will be different. Our life is so much fuller and richer - closely tied and bound together in an ever growing circle of amazing friends that we also call our children; our grandchildren are a whole new generation who are in need of "active grandmothering" even if it is done by long distance.

Tonight my feelings are tender, but tomorrow the sun will rise on a beautiful new day. New opportunities and decisions will present themselves, and I will try to be ready.

There are some distinct advantages to just being the two of us again - it will be like falling in love all over again.