Ready or Not, Time to Let Go

We cannot put off living until we are ready. Jose Ortega y GassetThe calendar is very much on my mind and we’re counting down the days. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one…  WAIT!! I’m not ready!!

Our first-born child, our beautiful daughter, moves out of our home and into her dorm room in just a few days. She’s starting college and we’re starting to empty our nest. I’m betting we will have a harder time adjusting than she will.

As I write this, she is downstairs sorting and packing. We spent several days this summer shopping, laughing and planning. Even so, it didn’t seem quite real then. It does now.

Am I at least closer to being ready than I was just a few weeks ago? What does” ready” really mean anyway? Loving words and being a bit freaked out, I decided to look up the definition.  As I read, I asked myself: Am I completely prepared? Am I duly equipped or adjusted?? Am I willing?? Well, yes….and no.

Yes, because it’s time. We’ve raised our daughter for over 18 years to be the independent, intelligent, decent person she is today. This is her time to live life on a new plane, in a new dimension. And that dimension doesn’t include us. It’s all hers and we know she’s going to rock it.

But, I would never say I was “completely” ready. I know from experience that it’s hard to let her go. I remember the first day of day care and kindergarten, the first sleep-away camp, letting her drive away on her own in the car the first time, etc., etc. In the end, all you can do is gulp, pray and release. But ready? I don’t know about that.

All I know is that I’ve been here before. This isn’t my first transition rodeo. I’ve faced cosmic shifts before. I’ve been single and suddenly married, childless and child-full. I’ve been naively healthy and suddenly cancer diagnosed. I’ve been wheeled into an operating room mentally kicking and screaming.

Are we ever truly ready for any of it? Or, is it enough just to be mindfully present and ready to welcome the experience, whether it brings us losses, gifts and/or unexpected ecstasy? My answer to that question: “It’s gonna have to be.”

What are you not quite ready for? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

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Debbie's picture

We’re All In This Together

Hi Beth:

She’s definitely a bit anxious, but very excited as well. It’s going to take time to make the transition. Maybe that’s all we have to be ready for – accepting that things change.

Thanks for giving us the perspective from the student. I guess we’re all in the same boat sailing off into unknown seas.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Comments

Nancy's Point's picture

Debbie, I completely

Debbie, I completely understand what you’re going through! I’ve been through it three times! My son #two is getting ready to head back to college next week. I think you’re right, the transition may well be harder for you than for your daughter! It’s another giant step in the parenting world isn’t it? All I can say is I love how the relationships I have with all three of my kids have evolved over time. Your relationship with your daughter is evolving now in a very big way, but I’m confident it’s taking you to a new and even better place. Best of luck to you all! By the way, my post today is about August stuff too!
http://nancyspoint.com/august-urgency/

Debbie's picture

A Giant Step Indeed

Nancy:

Thanks so much for weighing in with actual college parent advice. We’re completely new to this and have no idea what’s in store – other than to say that it’s been such a pleasure watching her grow up to now. I have faith ultimately in our relationship and in her, so I know we’ll be okay. It’s just the day to day missing her that I worry about.  But, even that is part of the whole experience, right? Got to kick the baby bird out of the nest at some point.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Barbara Bair's picture

Debbie, I’m sure your daughter will be

Debbie, I’m sure your daughter will be fine as you are a terrific, loving, supportive mom. I remember crying when I left my son, my first-born, at college, but he adjusted very quickly, and so did I. In fact, life around the house became more peaceful.
Like you, I have had some difficult changes in my life – divorce, getting ripped from a job I loved, cancer and its side effects, and now my life is about to change again since I accepted a part-time teaching job after being retired. I am not ready!! I have been spending the last two getting ready and worrying about having a new curriculum, new texts, new supervisors and administrators, etc. I wake up every night, very nervous. I have to remind myself that all my major changes have made me more spiritual, more mature, happier. I just have to have faith that going back to teaching will be a good experience.

Debbie's picture

Who Needs Fearlessness When You Have Bravery?

Barbara:

Thanks so much for the mom-to-mom support. I’m sure I’ll be crying a river, but your words are going to help me know, deep down where it counts, that it will all be okay.

Now, on to you. What you wrote brought back ancient memories of my lawyering days. I can’t tell you how many times I had exactly the same feelings as a big event (jury trial, difficult motion, etc.) approached.  But, you and I know what happens when you get there. You perform. And that’s all you think about is performing. You are a professional doing a job and there is no room in your head for all that anxiety. It simply goes away and you do your job. Which, by the way, you are damn good at.

So, it’s right now, during the weeks and long nights before the big event that are the hardest. Because you have time to nervously let all those demons run loose in your head. And, by the way, all that worrying and preparing is what makes you so good when you get there. Because you are ready, probably over-ready, and that’s what makes the difference between mediocre and great.

Plus, as you said, we’re both old enough and experienced enough to know that these challenges are what make us better people. That’s why you deliberately went out and got this job. I know how loud that part of your head is that keeps screaming, “I’m not ready!!” But, the quieter part that really wants to be there is a force to be reckoned with and will have its way. You’re going back to teach because you love it and that’s all there is to it.

So, you are going to have sleepless nights between now and the first day of school. It’s inevitable. But it’s also inevitabe that you are going to be the same great teacher this year as you were before the cancer. And this time, you get to decide when to retire.

I’m so proud of you. Mostly because you’re not fearless – just like most of us. But you are definitely brave and that’s so inspiring.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

Beth L. Gainer's picture

Being Ready

Hi Debbie,

I’m sure your daughter is wondering if she’s ready for this new adventure. As a college freshmen leaving to a college in a state other than my home state, I was scared and felt not ready. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be on the parent side of things. I guess life just happens, whether we are ready or not. Thank you for such a poignant post.

 

Debbie's picture

We’re All In This Together

Hi Beth:

She’s definitely a bit anxious, but very excited as well. It’s going to take time to make the transition. Maybe that’s all we have to be ready for – accepting that things change.

Thanks for giving us the perspective from the student. I guess we’re all in the same boat sailing off into unknown seas.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

Jan Baird Hasak's picture

Empty nest syndrome

I completely understand what you are facing. I’ve had to let go for three boys. And none of it was easy. Now, I don’t know if I’m ready for my youngest going off to Jordan by himself. But I must let him go. It’s part of the natural process. xx

 

Debbie's picture

Thanks for Understanding

Jan:

Natural or not, we’re not always ready are we? Especially when we have to let them go farther and farther away. Good luck with your son’s trip to Jordan. I can’t imagine that. But then again, I couldn’t imagine my daughter going to college just a short time ago. Somehow we get through all these changes.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Claudia Schmidt's picture

Your daughter

My daughter is a Senior in HS and I’m going through so much of these same thoughts. A lovely post, and you’re right, at the end of the day you have to just let life happen, it’s part of the ride. Thanks for sharing!

 

Debbie's picture

It’s Definitely Getting Easier

Hi Claudia:

Our daughter is a sophomore now and this summer was so much easier than last year. It just goes to show that change is hard, but we can get used to just about anything. It’s all part of the process of letting go. Thank goodness it’s happening gradually!

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

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