We have undergone a strange sort of transition in our home over the past week and a half, and ours has been a bit different than what we have seen in friends and acquaintances.
The spouse of my colleague wrote a terrific piece in the Albany Times Union about sending their daughter off to college. (Click here to read the article.) Other friends posted Facebook tributes to their children, with tearful goodbyes.
In contrast, we feel like we have made it to the finish line.
That is a facile, and probably entirely naive, description of delivering your child to the campus of his or her dream. Of course parenting does not end now, and of course there will be “plot twists” in what lies ahead.
But we had one of those children that was ready to be independent say, oh, maybe a year before she was scheduled to go off to college. She was ready, but there were still those little details of high school diploma requirements in the way. The final year was a push-me pull-you series of 12 months (plus) that left all of us feeling like we were in the last two miles of a marathon. That we hadn’t trained for.
Our oldest child has launched. She is at the amazingly beautiful University of Tampa, with a solid idea of her academic goals, as well as the added requirements of playing for the NCAA Division II women’s golf team. She sounds happy. She is busy. Her departure reminds me of what it was like when we used to drop off our chocolate lab, Smokey, at the vet’s for boarding. The staff there truly enjoyed the boarded pets, the receptionist often checking in clients with a puppy or cat on her lap. Boarding Smokey there was like dropping him off at summer camp. We would check in at the reception desk, and they would come around to take him into the back. He would run off without a backward glance.
And so our transition took place. There were a few swipes at wet eyes, but there really was no backward glance. We are holding off as parents, trying to allow our daughter the freedom she so desperately wanted last year. We try not to text, and we will wait for her to call us. We are here whenever she wants us. What a bittersweet exercise of restraint. Our finish line is her starting line.