March 19, 2012

75 days

My oldest child graduates from high school in 75 days.

Last night I had my first full-fledged panic attack about it.  My little girl, kinda all grown up, presumably heading off to college in August.

I once heard a sermon about how the natural progression of our lives prepares up for things in the future.  When we have a newborn, we can't imagine them ever leaving us to go to kindergarten, yet the toddler years prepare us for that separation (for some more than others).  'Firsts' happen to prepare us and teach us how to deal with the bigger firsts of life.  First scrapes and bruises, first bike ride, first sleep over, first loves, all of those youthful events show us that our children can handle what life throws at them.  Sometimes it highlights the areas that most need growth and guidance.  We can't imagine our baby getting behind the wheel of a car, but sixteen (or nearly eighteen, in my case) years of learning and doing, show us that they are capable - whether or not we are completely ready, and prepares us for the day they drive away solo for the first time.

I have no doubt that Boom can be successful in college.  Like most parents, I would prefer she not learn things the hard way, but my idea of what she should do and what is best for her seem to be conflicting.

Mostly what I am panicking about is the basic stuff that most parents go through.  What will I do when I can't see her face everyday?  How do I sleep at night without her hug and 'I love you, Mom'?  Who will sit beside me at the dinner table?

Several years ago, a friend of mine sent her oldest to OU.  One October weekend, the family decided to drive to Norman for a surprise visit.  Her daughter was not amused or pleased.  They turned around and came back home within hours.  I remember how deflated the entire family looked when they got back home.  It wasn't just that the visit hadn't gone well, it was a defining moment for all of them, a clear representation of what life was like, now.  Their little girl grown up, her family displaced by college friends and campus life.

It's like that first time your son or daughter doesn't want to kiss you goodbye when you drop them off at school and you feel unwanted and unneeded.  That's what scares me the most.    

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