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What Do We Do Now?

Eighteen years, seven months, and two weeks ago, the Mr. and I brought home a 7lb, 14oz bundle of joy.

We were young.

I was 21 3/4, and he was 26.

We did not know how to be parents.  All we knew was that we felt incredibly blessed.

We put her in the bassinet between our respective living room chairs.

And then we sat down.

We looked at her, laying so peacefully, and then we looked at each other.

We asked, “What do we do now?”

That’s when the fun began.

It wasn’t long before Chicky exercised her lungs and told us exactly what we could do with her.  From Day 1, she always knew what she wanted.

Over the years, we’ve asked ourselves this question many times.

None was tougher than today.

This was the day when, instead of bringing her home for the first time, we dropped her off somewhere…to stay…without us.

I’m no dummy.

Well, at least I thought I wasn’t.

I mean, I knew this day was coming.

Because Chicky and I haven’t been getting along very well, I figured I’d wave goodbye and do the happy dance back to the car.

The heavens must have laughed at me.

For a mom of 18+ years, I proved how ignorant I truly am.

Folks, I’ve been crying like a baby.

It started yesterday when we were getting ready to leave the house.

I could barely stand to look at Chicky’s room.

I did, though, snapping photos with the ole blog in mind…

As the Mr. and Chicky got in the car, I had to take a moment to collect myself.

Oh, who am I kidding.

I bawled my eyes out in the bathroom.

The thought of her leaving the security of my house did me in at the last second.

Coupled with the PMS I’m going through (thanks a lot, God…You could have planned this a little differently…), I was having a very rough time.

So, not only was I letting my baby go, but I was feeling chubby and bloated as well.

Yeah.

I know.

TMI.

Just sayin’.

Anyhoo…

The Mr. had rented a large SUV for the trip.

Thank goodness.

Chicky filled up every square inch…

Then, we hit the road.

We stopped in Tallahassee to see Coupon Queen and Grand Pooba.  They treated us to a deli sandwich lunch and cookies.  Chicky picked out a couple of towels and washcloths to take with her.  You know grandparents.  They have loads of this stuff.

They gave Chicky a goody package as well.  It was wrapped in plastic stuff, so she had to wait to open it.

After taking pictures, we left.

The rest of the drive was fairly uneventful.  At one point, I took a peek back at Chicky, only to find her asleep.  This was monumental because Chicky never sleeps in the car.  She was exhausted from all of the packing and excitement.

We arrived in Lakeland later in the evening and decided to eat at B D’s Mongolian Grill.

Oh my gosh.  What a wonderful restaurant!  You get to pick out your meat and veggies, make your own sauce, and the cooks grill everything up for you…

YUM!!

After that, we went back to the hotel.

It felt strange…almost like we were about to attend a soccer tournament.

But in the backs of our minds, we knew the truth.

Chicky and I shared a bed, and I don’t know if it was because it was cool in the room or because she knew she would miss me, but she unconsciously let me snuggle with her.

When you’re 18, it’s way not cool to snuggle with mom.

I found comfort in the closeness.  I needed this after the months we’ve been at each others’ throats.

Before I knew it, the day I had dreaded dawned upon me.

Chicky looked very happy.

Duh.

She was a little nervous, though.  She begins pre-season practice tomorrow, and of course she wants to do well.

As I took a final picture of her in the hotel room, I couldn’t help but think about how, in less than 12 hours, I would be returning to this room…without her…sitting in the same chair that she was, at that moment, occupying.

So sad…

I fought back tears.

We drove to the college, left her at the gym for a new player meeting, and walked around, looking for a place to eat.  I snapped a few photos of the campus…

Chicky's dorm

The main walkway between buildings

The cafe

The courtyard

The lake (don't know the name)

We wound up eating at the cafe on campus.  I had the Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Sandwich.  Oh my gosh.  It was DELICIOUS!  The next time we come down, I will definitely be ordering it again!

Then, it was time to meet back up with Chicky, who was undergoing her physical.

Once that was done, we headed over to her dorm to check her in, get her room key, and move her in.

We had approximately four hours.

We needed every second.

We met Chicky’s roommate, a sweet girl who is a sophomore at the college.  She and Chicky hit it off when Chicky visited the college a few months ago.  It’s so great that Chicky has a ready-made friend.

We helped Chicky unpack and organize her room.  Actually, she told me where she was putting things, and I obeyed…

This will be how things will roll from here on out.

Oh, who am I kidding.  This is how things have rolled for a long time now.

The room is actually larger than what I expected.  You can kind of see in the following picture…

I took more pictures so you could get a better idea of the layout of the room…

Two dorm rooms share one potty and shower. Each room has its own vanity.

We decided to run to Walmart for a few last-minute supplies…fruit, snacks, and paper products.  I also needed to get a screwdriver and hammer to put together her TV stand.  I just couldn’t leave it still in the box…

Back to the dorm we went, a bit in a hurry because we were going to be late for the pizza dinner and parent meeting.

I put the stand together in 20 minutes…

Then, I left the tools in Chicky’s desk drawer.  She thinks she won’t need them.  Girls ALWAYS need tools!

Meanwhile, the Mr. was rushing me.  We were already late to the dinner.

But, I wanted so badly to dawdle.

If I took my time, I figured I’d get to see Chicky that much longer.

No can do, folks.  The coach told us when it was time to say our goodbyes.

It felt like being in the military.

Chicky walked us to the car.

Now, I ask you.

How do you say goodbye to the child you’ve been with almost 24/7 for the last 18+ years?

It’s not easy.

She actually hugged us.

Real hugs.

The kind where you use two arms.

And you squeeze.

Yes, folks, I actually felt her squeeze me.

I kept reaching in for more hugs.

She couldn’t pull back.  She was out of excuses.

She knew this was my time.

She finally told us she was walking away because if she didn’t, we’d never leave her.

Oh, but my heart was about to break.

We got in the car and started driving down the lane.

We saw her walking.

I had my camera.

We called out to her, and she turned.

She had a huge smile on her face, and she raised her hand up in a wave.

My heart broke in that moment.

She was happy.

I was sad.

We drove on.

The Mr. and I didn’t speak for a while.

All I could think about was that she was about to experience new things, and I wouldn’t be there to share them with her.

It made me feel lonely and left out.

The Mr. and I returned to the hotel room.  We’ll be leaving for home first thing in the morning.

I went into the restroom, where I broke down.

I had done so good in front of Chicky.  I’d only shed a couple of tears in that final moment of separation.

But once I was by myself, I cried and cried.

All I could think about was that moment 18 years ago when she was all mine for the very first time.

Ultimately, I realize that she hasn’t been mine all along.

She is God’s child, and He has plans for her life.

I feel so privileged to have been a part of that plan.

When I exited, the Mr. and I looked at each other and asked, “What do we do now?”

I really don’t know.  I guess we’ll just get in the car in the morning and leave, like we’re supposed to.

Meanwhile, I comforted myself with this…

…along with the knowledge that Chicky is in God’s hands.  He knows her every need and desire.  His is always with her.

7 Responses

  1. I am crying with you and praying for this transition, all thr while knowing that mine is only a few years behind. I am praying for Chicky and you and the Mr as well as you adjust to this new phase. God bless, and thank you for opening your heart in this way!

  2. Oh ((((HUGS))))!!
    You made me cry.
    I have to go through this in two weeks. Not looking forward to it.

  3. I was bawling by the end of this post. Brought back so many memories, except OS was more interested in seeing his friends (who were on the other side of campus from him) than spending last minutes with us. Must be a boy thing.
    That campus looks incredibly nice. I’ll have to post pictures of MS’ dorm room next week (when he moves in) so you can see what a dump they have to live in! It’ll make you feel so much better! 😀

  4. Oh my… teared me up here! None of my girls have gone away to college… but I now have two that are married… and I cried when they left our home…. like you thinking of our “fighting” in terms of fighting and not just them “growing”… thinking I would be happy when they flew the coop… but not so much. My heart breaks for you, but I also know that when you see her next she will have grown, and you will be amazed at the person she is becoming. God is doing a work in her… one he started when he placed her in your care… and if you’ve done your job right… and it sure appears that you have… you will see God beginning to reap that harvest. Now I have 4 beautiful grandchildren who are being raised to love the Lord… and I couldn’t be happier for my girls… 2 down, 1 daughter and 1 son to go… and I’m sure they won’t be any easier to let go of!!!!

    You will be fine…. sad… but fine… and look at God… giving you your dream just when you needed it most… Monday is coming Mrs. AuburnChick… you students await!!!!

  5. And so the daily prayers for keeping her safe continue with extra vigor!! God bless her and you as you continue life’s journey together!

  6. I’m crying with you! I hope she loves it though-her campus is gorgeous!

    Hugs to you, momma, I hope you find comfort in your crunch bar and Mt. Dew, and knitting 🙂

  7. Hope by now you are feeling better….I have to confess I didn’t shed one tear when we dropped off my middle son. I feel like an awful mother 😉 I bet if I had had a girl things would be different? Hugs 🙂

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