A new school year. It always brings the memory. Letting her go.
I knew the day was coming. She was my firstborn.
She changed my life in so many beautiful ways. She was born on this day in 1983.
There was no question about her going to college. She chose a school that was hundreds of miles from home. I understood that need to make it on your own.
It wasn’t really going to be an empty nest that year, she would be leaving behind a perfectly adorable younger brother. Still…I sought out a possible band aid for the separation anxiety. I went back to work in her senior year of high school. It might provide a distraction.
My husband and I dropped her off on campus. It happened to be the same campus where my father said good bye to me so many years before. Sweet irony.
We helped get her settled in her dorm, met her new roommate, watched as she got called away to a mandatory orientation meeting. We put on that happy, positive face, told her how proud we were, wiped a few tears and said our farewells.
We held it together on the 3 hour drive home. So far, so good.
When we got home, I went to her now vacant room to put a few things in her closet.
Hanging on one side were two outfits. One was her prom gown. The other was a ballet costume she had worn when she was a 4 year old dance student.
I thought about how quickly the time between those 2 dresses had gone, and I let myself break down.
These were the tears I’d held back for so long, the ugly cry, the one that makes you sob, the one that reaches your soul, the one I’d been avoiding in the attempt to appear strong for her.
I missed her then, like I still miss her now. She never really came home again. I knew that in my heart; I had done the same thing. It didn’t make it easier.
Happy Birthday, baby girl.