Almost two weeks ago we moved Miss C to college in Las Cruces. Like most parents in this situation, my emotions are a wreck. I am so very proud of her, but at the same time she's leaving home the first of our brood to do so.
Miss C received a full-ride honors scholarship to NMSU. Her grades were always through the roof and we knew that wherever she applied she would be offered piles of money to attend. But we weren't expecting this. As graduation got closer and closer, the reality of her going AWAY to college got more real.
And now it's reality. She is the first to leave the nest and spread her wings and take off. This is when you really wonder what kind of parent you've been. Have you really prepared your child for this? Is she really ready to do things on her own? Can she handle the pressure of college life? Can she deal with the insanity and craziness of party animals, peer pressure, and co-ed dorms? This is when you really wonder if you've done right by your child.
As we left her at her dorm for the last time, shouting good-byes over my shoulder, I began to feel something I hadn't expected. I can't really describe it, but I was expecting to feel sad. Sad that this beautiful child wouldn't be part of my household except on the holidays. But what I felt was like the absence of sadness, but also a sense of excitement and pride. And a bit of jealousy. Jealous because she gets to live the adventure that for me was more than 20 years ago. I wouldn't want to relive it, but if there were some way I could do it again the FIRST time, like if I had amnesia and forgot doing it once and do it again like that, that's what I'm jealous of.
Thanks to the wonder that is the Internet, I get to talk to her every day, at least for a few minutes. I get to hear about what is going on with her every day. I get to hear about what she's doing, what's going right, what's going wrong, all of it. I am so proud of the way she's dealing with everything. Yes, she's had some rough things already, but she's kept her head up, marched on, and dealt with it. She's made new friends, getting out and about and having a great time.
I wanted to write this post to express my feelings about her going away, but I'm finding I just don't have the words to adequately talk about it. In some ways I am almost emotionless. It's like this is just the natural extension of where her life has been going. It's like I couldn't expect anything less than success from her because she has always excelled. In other ways I am in mourning. The act of moving her to college represents the end, the final act of her childhood. No longer is she dependent on us for food, a bed, any of that. From here on out she is on her own. That makes me a little sad.
College is a great thing, especially a large school with housing for their students. It's like a halfway house between childhood and adulthood. It's a chance to do your own thing, but still have someone there to take care of you. The cafeteria takes care of the food, the dorm takes care of your rent, but other than that you are free, free to come and go as you please. Because of that situation, I am not worried about her daily needs. I'm not worried about her safety and security. I know she knows how to take down someone who is hassling her. So in this sense, maybe it will be more worry-some to me when she graduates college or gets married and enters the real REAL world.
So, Miss C, I guess what I really want to say is I'm proud of you. I did my best to help you grow your wings and it's just amazing to me to see that they are big and strong and you have the ability to not just fly, but to soar. Soar, baby, soar.