Reflections of a Mom 1 week before she leaves her daughter in college.

THE Relationship Blog


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As I sit here planning our trip to Colorado, I have had a million crazy thoughts. The one that had me laughing yesterday was, ‘I really don’t want to go’. This musing was funny because I actually considered it. What if I just said no? What would my family do if the planner, mapper, reservation maker and all around get-everybody’s-shit-together director decided not to do her job? I recognized these thoughts as distractions and quickly got rid of them. I started allowing my emotions to come up instead. The same emotions that had been choking me and making me feel completely paralyzed. I know all parents experience these feelings. I know that my Mother is feeling them now since I moved 3000 miles away from her. However, none of that makes this any easier.

Jeannie has been my full time job for 18 years. She has elicited every emotion in my wheel house and helped to create such fun feelings as exasperhugging (where you are so frustrated with someone that all you can do is hug them) and ragahilarity (where you are so angry at what they have done but can’t stop yourself from laughing at their fuckery).  The latter feeling was elicited by finding out that after two weeks of daily pulling blue gum out of her hair that she was actually chewing the ticky tac that her teachers were using to hold up paper on the walls. Or, the one she reminded me off yesterday, where she washed her hair with my very expensive body oil.

My sister tells me to focus on how amazing Jeannie is and how we never expected to see her go to college in the first place. Like a good Mother who can’t seem to turn off the need to nurture and keep my chicks safe, all I can focus on are the things she does not do for herself. All I can see is that I was so much more prepared for college than she was. All I can see is that I am letting my little (4’9”-and that’s generous) defenseless girl out in a strange environment without the safety net of her parents or even a trusted family member.

Sure, when I allow my higher self to take over my addled brain, she reminds me that Jeannie is a scrapper and always has risen to every occasion. For example, she spent a month at Duke University for summer school when she was only 13. She handled herself well. She lived in a dorm and was able to find her meals and wash her clothes and make friends and not join a gang or get roofied. It was a success! My higher self knows that she will do fine and even discover some hidden abilities that she has been unable to unearth because she has never really been allowed to really stretch her wings. All these things are known by my higher self but even she can’t stop the tears.

You see, for all my wisdom, I know that this move will forever change our relationship. No longer are we just Mom and Daughter because now she has a choice. Now she can choose what kind of relationship we have. Will she call me? Will she confide in me? Will this be where she gets rid of me? This is what is behind the tears. Yes, I will miss her like a drowning person misses air but the root of all my tears come from my own insecurities as a Mother.

Time will tell. I will continue to work on these feelings of not being enough as a Mother (I thought I had already handled this). I will do my best to let her go and not attempt to enroll as a freshman at her school or murder a co-ed and assume her identity just so that I can be close to her. I promise not to call her constantly or become a permanent dial-tone on her Skype. I will do my best to let my little chick fly from the nest and I will always be there in case she wants to fly back home.

3 comments

  • Brenda Cockrell

    Well said my friend…..next year will be my turn…..Good Luck Jeannie!!!!!

  • As I read this I am humbled and proud of you, my sister, a great mother and friend. I can only imagine how hard this is for you. So many changes, so quickly. Jeannie is well prepared and will be well taken care of. As for you, you are a great mother. Now your mothering with her will change. No longer will you ask her if she showered, picked up her clothes, put away her folded laundry, etc. Now the questions are deeper, like, how are your classes and how do you feel with them?; what’s it like to live in Colorado? Basically just more open-ended questions. Your relationship will grow deeper as Jeannie gets older. I know that of you and of her. Just trust this amazing growing process that all of us parents go through. Rejoice that you have the knowledge and resources to continue to process your feelings and concerns. And know that I will always be there for you.

  • awww. this is so far away from me, but I know the feelings you have are universal. Best wishes!

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