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I THOUGHT I’D BE DOING THE HAPPY DANCE
“All of the other parents have left, Mom,” my daughter said matter-of-factly as I walked into her dorm suite with an armload of groceries, having slogged up seven flights of stairs.
social life, I didn’t see much of my daughter her last year at home anyway. I might not even realize she was gone! “No sadness for me,” I thought in the weeks leading up to Drop- Off Day. Save the tears for those other moms. Poor things. I’d probably even be doing the happy dance about having successfully launched one adult into the world. Boy, was I in for a surprise when it was time to leave the dorm to begin the five-hour drive home, less one child.
Guess she thought I couldn’t take a hint. Geez!
We’d spent hours moving in. Over 7,000 new University of Alabama freshmen were hauling their stuff into their dorms! It was a huge production. Parking was obviously a joke. But that wasn’t what made the day so hard.
“Hold it together, sister,” I told myself as I hugged my daughter goodbye.
I had been preparing for this for 18 years — the day I would drop off my baby girl at college, never to live at home with me again (vacations and breaks don’t count). Finally, the anticipation of this big day would be over. I expected to feel some relief about that, but it paled in comparison to the melancholy of saying goodbye. For months beforehand, I was secretly looking forward to having one less child in the house to worry about. Kind of the “out of sight, out of mind” deal. Yes, I knew I’d worry about her at college, but
Although no tears were shed in the dorm (my daughter didn’t give me the chance for any waterworks as she hustled us out of the door), they were close by, and I was unusually quiet and melancholy on the drive home. Out of sorts, I’d guess you’d say. Life will never be the same for my daughter or me again. I tried to recall what my life was like before kids. It was so long ago and so much has happened since then that I honestly cannot remember. I guess we’ll both be taking our newfound “freedom” one day at a time.
I wouldn’t be waiting
up for her to come home each night. I have raised her to be very independent, and, frankly, between her job, school, and
I’m feeling a little better now, but I still think about her constantly, wondering what she is doing and if she’s having fun.
I suppose this emptiness in my heart will lessen with time. At least I hope so.
- Kristen “Not Doing the Happy Dance” Marks
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