The Oldest One has applied to college. I knew it was coming, after all, I’ve been the one sending her the paper applications to prepare (so we’d have an easier time with the online application, ha, ha), badgering her to give me a date and time we will fill these out online and submit, and generally nagging her about all things college related. But then we actually filled out the application.
I’m excited for her to go to college, and have all the wonderful experiences there. I know she will do great, and thrive. But even though I’m on her for applications and to do the scholarship stuff, a part of me isn’t ready. I’m not ready to not have her home each night, tucked into her “nest” with the Fat Cat and the White Fluffy Dog. I’m not ready for the muttered one word answers to “How was your day” to have to be given via text, Face Time or Skype. I’m not ready for my baby to toddle her way out the door.
In theory I know my job is to prepare the girls to be thriving adults who are assets to the world. In my mind I want them to always live in my house, complain about school, and get glitter everywhere making posters for the various sports. How will I live without red and silver glitter coating every part of the house? And, if I leave the light on over the stove when I go to bed, I’ll just have to tromp downstairs and turn it off myself, since the Oldest One won’t be coming home after I’m asleep and turning it off so I know she is home.
I trust that she’ll make mostly good decisions, and some bad ones. It’s the only way we learn, and I know I made some stupid moves in my college years. I hope she has my guardian angel with her, because looking back, I had a good one. I know she’ll keep in touch, and that she’ll miss us (Little One the most, of course). None of that makes me ready for her to go to college.
I’ve been overprotective at times, and liberal at others. I sent both kids off when they were 11 and 8 for a month to my brother and sister-in-law in a different state, and they had to take a plane to get there. I sent her to Florida with her cheer team for a major competition without me or the Husband. She has taken college classes at the community college. She has her own car and drives herself and her sister to all of their activities. She had a summer job, she works concessions at our NFL stadium with our all-star cheer group, and I’ve been told the school loves her doing work study with them. So why am I not ready, when all signs point to she is?
Because she is and always will be my baby. Yes, she is the oldest. What does that matter? I can still see her as an infant and then a toddler, with a broken arm after trying to fly like the Sugar Plum Fairies in Barbie Nutcracker, at her very first cheer competition…I can still see her as little, and it doesn’t take much effort. She’ll be a mom sending her own kids off to college (with all the nagging she inherited from me) and I’ll still see her in her Pebbles hair-do with a big smile on her face bravely ready to take on kindergarten. I am so proud of all she has accomplished, and that she is a pretty great person. I know she will do wonderful at college, and beyond. But I still remember giving her the last bottle, and her first night without a pacifier, and when she learned to ride a bike, and do a back handspring. And I wouldn’t mind an afternoon experiencing those things again, but yet I am so excited about watching her walk into her future.
No one ever said being a Mom meant you made sense.