The Almost Empty Nester: First Flight

Saturday, November 29, 2014

First Flight


It has begun. Girly has started visiting colleges.

Last weekend wasn't easy for me. Hubby was already down south for a board meeting so I put Girly on a plane by herself for the first time to meet him. They went from there to visit a college she's interested in. I picked her up from school and took her to the airport. I didn't breathe until I saw her go through security and proceeded to text her constantly until she boarded the plane and had to turn off her phone. Actually, I don't think I truly started breathing again until she landed and I knew she was safely with her dad.

Over the next 24 hours I got texts from her and Hubby, filling me in on all they were doing, who they were meeting with and her first impression of things. She liked it, but the introvert in her was struggling with all the social interaction. Understandably a little overwhelmed, she still sounded happy. All was going well.

And then it hit me. This is really happening. Stuff just got real. I was walking down the hall at home and it hit me in the gut. I literally sat down right there and sobbed. I did. There will be a day not long from now when she won't live under our roof. Her room will be empty. I won't see her every day. I won't get to hug her every morning and tell her goodnight every evening. I thought of that scene in the movie Father Of The Bride where Steve Martin's character has this revelation about his daughter. He realizes she won't come to breakfast in her bathrobe and socks, won't slide down the bannister to hug him anymore. And his heart hurts.

It's a huge life change. And we all know how well I do with change. And my heart hurt.

Putting her on a plane alone for the first time was scary, but it was just a glimpse of what's to come. I thought of how she's testing her wings. Flying only a short way from the nest for now, making sure her wings work. Each time she flies, they'll get stronger. Until one day, she'll fly on her own. And eventually build a nest of her own. I knew this day was coming. Every mother does. But the reality of it is much tougher than the idea.

We just celebrated Thanksgiving. And I soaked in the time together. The laughter, the inside jokes, the late night movie watching. I always hated when the kids were young and people would say, "It goes so fast." It doesn't feel fast when you're covered in spit up and have diapers piled up to your ears. But it's true. It goes fast. Too fast.

I have no clue what college she will choose. We've just begun the search. But I do know that I'm grateful for every moment I have with her now. I'm grateful for the 16 years with her so far. And I'm excited for her. I really am. When she does fly away all on her own I will be sad, but even more so, I will be proud.



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