Well, it’s that time of the year that the kids are on their way back to college.
I think back to 2017, as my first born was about to start her first year at Indiana University Bloomington. Three and a half hours away from home and, of course, away from her family. I know, I know, this is what you raise your kids to do…go out into the world and thrive, learn and grasp all that you can, be independent and confident on your journey, etc, etc, etc. People told me it would be hard to see her go, and I knew it would be because of the relationship I have with my daughter, but seeing her in the rear-view mirror was surreal. I can only imagine what she was thinking and asking herself, because so many questions were going through my mind. Will she be okay on her own? What will happen if she gets sick? Will she not hear her alarm and miss class? Will her and her roommate get along? Will she get involved and be engaged? And the list goes on and on. I also asked myself…How will I do without seeing her every day? What will my day be like without her witty comments? Will she still give me play-by-play of her day? How will I know she is in for the night and safe? And, again, the list goes on and on.
I’m not gonna lie, the ride home was pretty bad and for a few weeks the phone calls and texts were hard to handle. We were all adjusting. Her dad and I, to the family dynamic of there not being four of us. Her little sister, to knowing if she did need her big sister, she wasn’t in the room next door. And to her, to living on her own, making her own decisions, not having the support she always had, and, AGAIN, the list goes on and on.
I mean, the “Struggle was Real”, but as the semester went on, we all learned to adapt. There were days that were harder than others, but before we knew it the semester was over and it was Christmas break. The emotions of us all when she had to go back for her second semester were different. She was embracing her college life and with each visit home I could see how she was growing and becoming her own version of an adult. And then…the first year was over!
The second year came with a set of new questions she would ask herself and I would ask myself. It was still hard to see her go, but this time around, she was anxious to start the new year. And then…the second year was over! Yes, believe me, it goes by that fast.
And now…I saw the anticipation and excitement in my daughter’s eyes as she is starting her third year. She was anxious to get back into her routine, she was anxious to start her classes, she was anxious to live in a house with two roommates, and, AGAIN, the list goes on and on. No longer did she have questions of doubt for herself because now she is confident with that “home away from home”. I, on the other hand, will always have questions.
Looking ahead to her fourth year, I am confident she will be even more excited about the final year she will spend at IU and when that year has zoomed by, and she will be “out in the world”, she will, again, start asking herself questions. And maybe this time around I will be able to provide some answers, from my own experiences, but I KNOW she will succeed in whatever she puts her mind to.
And for you that want to know…She was okay on her own. She didn’t get sick. She did not sleep through her alarm. There were some ups and downs, but she did get along with her roommate. She got involved with IU Dance Marathon. And…I missed her beyond words and looked forward to our daily calls or FaceTimes. Every time we talked I remembered everything she said and stored those witty comments away to remember later. She still loves to tell me about her day (I’m sure she leaves “certain” things out). And I cherish the texts she sends that start EVERY day with “good morning” and EVERY night with “goodnight I love you”!