Darling Daughter’s all packed for college …

Got home from work at about 7:30 last night, tossed my keys and purse down and followed the music to Daughter’s room.

Me: Watcha doing?

Daughter: Packing. I’m almost done!

She danced around her (somewhat empty) room, putting the finishing touches on her task.

Me: (laughing…) You realize that coming home to this would freak a lot of parents out? You just finished high school, only graduated a few days ago…

The shelf the runs the perimeter of her room, near the ceiling? Empty, except for a few items going to college with her. She also gathered papers and books to be recycled.

lone pigShe boxed up favorite items to be stored with me, while she’s away at college. Filled a huge bag of clothing to be donated.  (Even prom and homecoming dresses.)

Me: Do you want me to sell some of that on eBay?

Daughter: No, because its nice stuff. I want to donate it because people usually don’t donate good stuff; I want somebody else to have it.

Me: Okay.

room 034room 031She only left clothes hanging in her closet that she wears regularly, that she plans to take to college. In a grey Tupperware? The beginnings of items going to college.

Daughter’s theory?

“If I’m not taking it to college, I probably don’t need to hang onto it.”

Daughter graduated last Sunday. Went to college orientation, signed up for classes and picked up her college ID on Monday. She also got new checking and savings accounts with a bank on campus in the student union, linked her accounts for easy wiring of scholarship money to pay her tuition.

She’s picked out her dorm room comforter and other odds and ends, made lists. By next week, she’ll probably be out purchasing those items. Maybe she’ll go online and get her books ordered. I’m certain she knows what needs done and that she’ll handle it.

For her high school graduation ceremony, she painted her fingernails a pretty red. (high school colors are red and white). She painted her toenails in her college colors. “Get it? I’m stepping into the future…”

She’s a capable young lady. Ready to find out what’s next. That’s not to say she isn’t scared, uncertain of the unknowns. But she’s worked hard, prepared the best she could and she’s excited to head to college.

I went to bed smiling…

In the face of her enthusiasm, how can I be anything but excited for her?

High School Graduation…no time for reflection

“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.”

~Paulo  Coelho

Today: Darling Daughter graduates high school. She does so with style, in a pretty white dress, white cap and gown and being that she’s a ‘shoe person’ … sparkly silver shoes. She’ll be wearing bling on her feet and on her person, as she graduates with honors and distinction at the top of her class.

Tomorrow: We leave home at 5:45 a.m. for orientation at Daughter’s chosen college. She’ll enroll in her first semester of college classes and later in the day, we turn around and drive three hours back home.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: I’ll work. (Probably a lot given my abbreviated week.)

(Also on Tuesday: An appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Toss fixing my banged up right hand into the mix…)

Friday: Daughter and I (and maybe the family?) will be up again at the crack of dawn, to drive to Columbus. We’ll arrive at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, on the campus of The Ohio State University,  by 9 am. Son competes in the state track tournament. As of a few months ago, he pole vaults? He’s only a freshmen.

color runSaturday: Up early again. For The Color Run. Our group will run (and walk) a few miles in white shirts, and have paint thrown on us all through the ‘race.’ Team name? The Misfits. “Fit teenage boys, a fat old lady (me) and some teenage girls somewhere in between.” Thankfully, my good friend (and fellow 40 something) is joining me. I won’t be the only ‘old lady’ in our group.

 

Sunday:  Darling Daughter’s graduation party. When are we getting ready for it? I’m not sure. Thankfully we kept it simple. It seemed to me we had two choices. Have a small, casual, gathering (approx. 40-50 people) or it could get big, really quickly, easily 150. (In our small town, we all know each other.) Grateful we went small, given the week’s events…

June 12: Son turns 16 and gets his driver’s license. He’s ready, been taking his classes, etc. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be!!

July – August: In a few weeks, we’ll welcome a new baby girl into the family. (Aunt Kate’s first grandchild…) The kids and I will move to a new home this summer (I’ve been packing for months). We’ll get daughter ready, then take her to college in August.

Reflection? No time for that now…

Having just started a new, full-time job six weeks ago, as well as a couple of new freelance side jobs, I’m a little befuddled these days. Seems there’s so much going on. Ceremonies that precede a high school graduation. Awards nights, last day of school, parties…

And Son making a run at state pole vault champion? He picked up a pole barely three months ago, began the season flinging himself up over 9 feet…and is now quickly closing in on 14 feet?

white cupcakeAt some point, I’ll have quiet moments for reflection…

Right now, I’m just hanging on…enjoying the ride!!

Knowing that next weeks graduation party brings a cupcake.

Darling Daughter’s Last Day of High School…and I’m not crying???

katie-meWhat’s wrong with me?

It’s Darling Daughter’s last day of high school. She’s done in a couple of hours.

And I’m not sad…

Prior to opening Facebook last night, I was excited for the long weekend, my weekend plans; including a day trip to Pennsylvania on Saturday and a family picnic on Monday.

Until I saw postings from parent’s on Facebook, I had no idea what time the kids were done with school. Still not sure of the time, but it’s soon. It got me thinking…

So I called Aunt Kate…

Me: What’s wrong with me?

(A loaded question, I know…)

Aunt Kate: There’s nothing wrong with you.

Me: Should I be sad, crying? Is there going to come a time when I’m a mess?

Aunt Kate: Probably not. I never got that way with Joey. (my cousin)

Me: Oh…good.

Aunt Kate: I think you’re more excited for her. I was the same with Joey. He had a great experience in high school. And I was excited for what came next for him.

And as I think about her theory, I think Aunt Kate is right.

Why I’m not feeling sad…

I think because she’s excited to go to college, to choose her dorm room decor, to leave the nest, I’m excited for her.

As for high school, she’s accomplished so much. She doesn’t have regrets. She played sports, joined clubs, took on leadership roles, performed in her schools show choir and was even in several school plays. She took many challenging honors/AP classes. Made friends. Had some fun.

Even did a bit of public speaking as National Honor Society President…

katie speakingAs a mom, I did my best. I’ve certainly enjoyed raising Darling Daughter, felt blessed to have her as my daughter.

There is some relief…

We ALL worry about our kids. But for me, there’s some extra, added worry tied to being a single parent. Statistically, children of single parents are far more likely to have issues; emotionally, with drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy, poor performance in school and so much more. I’m breathing a little easier knowing that one of my children has successfully navigated the difficult high school years.

Of course, I’m smart enough to know that I’m exchanging one set of worries for another!!

There’s so much to look forward to…

Daughter will soon be a high school graduate.

She’s off to college in the fall. When I do speak to her, or see her, we’ll have more to talk about. She’ll (hopefully) graduate from college. Then will be career decisions, maybe she’ll decide to get married, or have children, or move to a new city, or buy her own home. There are many more milestones to come. So many more things to enjoy.

I don’t look at her high school graduation as the end of something, it’s another beginning.

Not just for her, but for me, too.

My life…

As the children get older, I get to think about me. It’s always been about everybody else. Being a single parent hasn’t been easy. It has had moments too difficult to share here, or even to find words for.

But there have also been triumphs. I’ve gotten to figure out what type of career I want, to meet new people, try new things. I’m starting to see the end of the ‘raising children‘ phase of my life. And in many ways, that’s exciting for me. It means I have the freedom to chase after my dreams.

And children like that. They love to know their parents are happy.

Mine seem happier, when they know I’m busy, that I’ve got things going on.

Sometimes I tease Darling Daughter with this…”Just think, when you come home from college you’ll get to meet the fella who’s going to be your new stepfather…”

As you can imagine, she rolls her eyes!

I guess we can either look backward, or forward. I’ve never been one to wallow in the past. I try my best to enjoy each day, appreciate my past and my memories–and then plunge forward.

I’m not thinking “Where has the time gone?”

I’m thinking, “What a ride!”

Anybody else have a graduating senior? Your thoughts?