The Almost Empty Nester: Decisions, Decisions

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Decisions, Decisions

I spent part of the past week driving with Girly and her friend to Oregon and back to look at colleges. It was a fun road trip, for sure, but filled with many mixed emotions. In the midst of it, my nephew was having brain surgery so my heart and mind were in multiple places for sure. (He's through surgery and doing well) On top of that, I was working through the mom thoughts of, "In six months I'll be dropping my first born in a foreign place (foreign to me) and leaving." I had a knot in my gut the entire time. It feels more like I'll be dropping her on the side of the road and abandoning her after caring for her for the past 18 years. 

I was also watching her for clues on how she's feeling. As we walked campus, I had flashbacks of what it was like to go to school, not know a soul, and feel downright terrified. And I'm a raging extrovert. My daughter is not. My heart hurts for her and all that she's feeling. At one point she took my hand and said, "This feels weird. I worry I'll never make close friends in college like I have in high school." Ah, such a valid worry for a teenager. And yet I assured her she will make friends. That it is scary to leave what is known for what unknown. 

However, there are positive feelings brewing as well. When we got home, she talked to me and my husband about the trip. How she felt about what she saw, compared it to the other schools, and came up with a decision. She said she felt fear and peace at the same time. Fear of the unknowns, of leaving what is familiar and venturing out into a world she isn't used to, mixed with a peace that where she wants to go is the right place for her and excitement of all that is to come. 

It's a jumbled mess of emotion. 
And yet, I get it. I know that peace and pain, or fear in this case, can co-exist. We moved from Colorado to California when the kids were small. Babies, really. And we didn't know a soul. It was terrifying. And yet I had a peace that we were doing what God wanted us to do. And He has blessed that decision. But I know from experience what it's like to be the one who moves away and the one who stays behind. I will release her in the world to fly from the nest, but I will stay behind. I will still have much in my world that is known, more so than she will, but I won't have her. My nest will change. I wonder sometimes which is tougher - to leave or to be left. 

This has been a tough decision for her, but I could not be more proud. She has prayed for peace, weighed her options, thought through much more than I ever did when I was her age. She will fly and she will soar, I know it. 

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