It’s hard to believe, but my beautiful little Erin moves out tomorrow to go to college. It feels like only five or maybe ten years ago since I was holding her tiny newborn body in my arms, and wondering how I could ever handle such a huge responsibility. And it seems like only a couple of years ago that she was completing elementary school. Now she is all grown up and so anxious to be off to face the world.
Of course I knew this day would come, and I am excited for her to continue to grow and explore new things. This is a needed, but it is still difficult. How can I protect her from all the bad things that might befall her? How can I know that she is OK? Who will be there when things don’t go the way she expected? I know she would have answers to all of these concerns – valid answers, but not ones I necessarily want to hear.
What happened to those wonderfully simple days when the worries were her sleeping through the night, her learning to eat solid food, and her taking her first steps? Is there really joy in moving on from the simple life? I’m not so sure. Simple sounds good these days – sticking to the necessities and avoiding the complications. How did I end up so far from this much more peaceful path? Can I go back? Maybe, but time has certainly marched forward and much of the complexity has come with time and there is no way back from that. Maybe I do need to course correct a bit, but certainly still need to march forward, but I am getting off topic.
Now, maybe you are wondering how far away Erin is moving for school. Well, it happens to be less than five miles and we will probably see her every week or two, but the difficulty is not that she is inaccessible. The difficulty is that my life is changing in a way that I don’t think I want. She won’t be here in the evenings to watch TV together. She won’t be a part of our many weird conversations. She won’t be with us on the family vacations we take during K-12 school breaks. She might not even be with us on more major vacations. There just seems to be so many things I never got around to sharing with her. Before I know it, she will be totally independent of me, and then she will move farther away or get married or both! Maybe the hardest part is that she just won’t need me any more. It’s not easy to let go of a responsibility that I have loved for eighteen years; one I am now questioning how well I really did with. I guess other things will come into my life, but nothing will ever replace my little girl.
I know I am not the first to feel this way, and obviously others successfully deal with it and still seem to be happy, so I can hope that I can be happy with all of this too, but for now, for this moment, it is not so easy.