"Sleeps," that's what my mom calls it. When I'm a week away from coming to visit she'll say, "I'll see you in seven more sleeps!"
My baby is leaving for college in two more sleeps, and I'm starting to freak out. Like seriously. A kaleidoscope of butterflies (yes, that's what they're called) has taken up permanent residence in my stomach, my heart is beating harder, and my mouth is dry. Why am I so anxious?
1) My baby is going to college! How is that possible? Since when did they start letting 10 year olds into universities? What? He's 18??? When did that happen? How is it possible, especially given I'm only 32???
2) He's my rock. He is dependable, caring, kind, smart, ambitious, funny, and he's got an old soul. I often feel like I'm the kid and he's the parent. How will I get by? Who will help me take care of the kitties? Who will hug me when I'm feeling sad?
3) I'll be alone in my house for the first time in my life. I lived with my family, then a boyfriend, then my husband, and then my husband and kids. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO LIVE ALONE!!!
I had been looking forward to the "empty nest syndrome" up until a few months ago. Now, I'm slightly petrified. And a little excited. And a little sad. And a lot nervous. Will I be okay? Will I figure out how to change a fuse or how to get all the apps onto my cell phone or how to use the DVD player? These are guy things, right? No? Crap!
But, my baby is going to college - HE'S GOING TO COLLEGE!!! He was accepted pre-med to Penn State Altoona, and I know I shouldn't be sad or nervous or afraid. I should be happy, overjoyed, proud, verklempt. And I am those things, all of them. I know this is a true change of life for both of us, and I know we'll both be fine. No, we won't be fine. We'll be freaking awesome! We'll thrive and grow and learn and become more of who we are, who we're meant to be. I'm going to miss him like crazy, and I'm going to have to learn how to do a lot of things I've never done before, but, such is life, right? Things, people, and situations change, and people have an uncanny ability to adapt.
But, still, I'm going to miss my baby...
So, here's to you, Ethan - may this be the first step towards the beginning of an unimaginable life filled with exciting challenges, new frontiers, and dreams come true. And, thank you, my precious son, for filling my life with a kind of joy I will never be able to fully express. I love you to the depths of my heart and my soul.
What about you? Have you sent a child off to college or experienced "empty nest syndrome" or undergone a major life change recently? How did it go? How did you get through it? Any and all advice will be greatly welcomed and appreciated!
Oh, and sharing a birthday with Madonna today is my dear friend, Carolyn. Happy Birthday! You truly make 50 look like the new 30!