Guess what I'm doing today? Right now, while you are sipping your morning coffee or Diet Coke, I'm moving my daughter into her dorm. My oldest two kids are a mere 14 months apart (yes, we know where babies come from), and so their life events have always tumbled one right after another, barely giving me time to catch my breath in between. There was kindegarten. And their baptisms -- the beginning of junior high and then high school. I ran the gauntlet of the Texas DMV two years in a row. There were sweet 16s and homecomings and proms. There was graduation and parties and now the moving away. Always one right after the other.
There are some advantages in the quick repeat. I always knew just what to do for Madison -- where to go for the orthodontist, what to bring to set up her locker, when and where to take the ACT . . . stuff like that. Plus, Jordan has usually been around to help guide us both through the labyrinth of teenage milestones. Just before she left for France, Jordan spent two hours helping Maddie select her Fall classes. Registration began at 1:00 AM central time, and I laid down to sleep listening to the ardent and excited murmurs of two sisters in the study -- discussing the merits of late-morning classes and entertaining professors.
The downside is that the second time around I'm more clear on the endings, the finish lines, the cut-off dates. I'm a little afraid that as I move Maddie into her new life I'll have to relive launching child #1. That the lasts -- for both of them (the last Sunday breakfast, the last family movie night, the last night at home) will pile up skyward, incredibly high, and will avalanche down to crush my sorry, empty-nest self.
On the other hand, maybe I'll handle the launching of #2 with greater perspective, increased wisdom, less late-night ice cream eating. I just don't know at this very moment. My mental status these days is a bit of a crap-shoot -- incredibly optimistic and grateful one moment, weepy and despairing the next.
In the midst of all of this leaving one word keeps coming to mind -- bravery. While I do (and will) tangibly miss the physical presence of my girls in my daily life, part of my reticence has to do with the idea of moving on. I don't really want to. I know they are moving onward and upward, but I'm also almost entirely certain that I won't find a better way to occupy my time than mothering those sweet girls.
So, bravery. I think I've got move forward with courage and good cheer. I've got some fire left in me (and two kids and a husband still at home). There's work to do.
I'm going to move this girl into the best, gosh-darn dorm ever and then set about rolling up my sleeves. Hard work and ice cream. I can do it.