Before Emily was born I read "What to Expect When You're Expecting" from cover to cover. I highlighted whole chapters and dog-eared pages. I read passages out loud to John. I asked questions. I read articles. I subscribed to Parents magazine pretty much the minute I found out I was pregnant. I was definitely that kind of pregnant lady. I had high hopes for what kind of mom I would be, and I wanted to be as prepared as possible. Of course, anyone who has children knows how this story ends: all the prep work in the world does not prepare you for the reality of being a mom.
Throughout the years, I have often looked to experts and other parents for advice on how to deal with the various stages: teething, sleeping through the night, middle school girls. John and I still check in with each other to make sure we are being the kind of parents we want to be. We've survived so many phases together. One thing that no one prepared me for, however, was how incredibly hard this just-before-graduation-phase is. Make no mistake: Emily is ready to go off to college. She's put in the hard work and has been accepted to a fabulous college. It's not Emily that needs a guidebook, it's me. I totally need a book entitled, "What to Expect When Your Beloved Firstborn is More Awesome Than You Ever Imagined She Would Be and She's Heading Off Into Her Bright Future." I'm not going to lie, this whole senior year has been a landmine of emotional "lasts" for me. Every time I turn around, I'm crying. Last swim meet? Tears. Last theater production? Tears. Last band concert? Yup, tears. Picking up extra graduation tickets? Tears.
Friends! This is some real-life hard stuff, and no one tells you about it ahead of time. Emily's definitely heading to Madison in the fall. My rational side knows this is a good thing, but my irrational side keeps thinking, "Wait! What? She's leaving?!?"
The truth is, I really like my kids. I can't believe it's time for them to be grown-ups.
When I asked my friend, Donie, she admitted that this stage is hard, but she promised me that the next stage is awesome. She told me I'm going to love it. I'm choosing to believe her on this one. I'm going to believe her when she says that I'm going to make it through this really hard part of being a mom. Life will be different, she said, but awesome. Different, but awesome sounds doable, right?
Here's to different, but awesome!
PS I'm not the only one who feels this way, right?!?