In this life, people have big days all the time.
Someone is coming, someone is going…somewhere one of us is getting ready to have some kind of big day.
It’s the only real consistency in our lives…something is probably going to happen….all the time.
There is always someone having a big day.
Today is one of our big days.
Today our first-born child leaves for college.
She chose a college that’s about 45 minutes up the road from us. Physically, it’s pretty convenient. In a geographical sense, she didn’t make it hard for us to get to her.
Far enough…but not too far.
But it’s a marker of something else…like a leaf turning up before it rains, or geese flying south for the winter…and the “something else” that’s coming is understood by parents everywhere.
Being a part of life that’s “understood” doesn’t make it any easier.
I remember her first day of kindergarten. I remember how it felt to see her little face while I said goodbye for that first time apart from both Mommy and Daddy.
And now I know how it feels to see her go off to college.
(I almost said “let her go off to college”. What a slip of the brain. I might help facilitate … but “let”? It shouldn’t be a situation where I’m “allowing her” to do this…that would be kind of sad. It’s not a matter of me “unclipping the leash”.)
When I started college, I made myself sick with worry.
I don’t think that I really wanted to be there. I had visions of framing houses and learning carpentry…but I think my mother’s vision was a different one for me…and I ended up going to college.
I remember sometime in the first couple of days of being really sick with dread that I ate a bunch of beets because it was the only thing I thought I could stomach.
When the beets finished making their way around my digestive circuit, I was sure that I was bleeding internally.
The college nurse helped me remember that beets would give that appearance, too.
I don’t have any big advice for my daughter on her first day of “college life”…except maybe to just chill out a little…and to stay away from beets the first couple of days.
Getting back to the topic at hand…this is one of our big days. This is a milestone in all of our lives. There are parts of this journey that we all share with Zoe.
But when you really get down to it, this is, for the most part, her big day.
This is her walk that she’s continuing today.
This isn’t about how I feel watching her go. This isn’t about any demands or wishes to control her future that I might have. This isn’t about my needs.
This is her walk … and I’m confident that she’ll handle it with class and grace.
I am proud of my children.
I am proud of my daughter.
Walk Tall, Zoe.