This is a big week for me. In celebration (and maybe a tiny bit of fear and trepidation) I decided to post a more personal entry here today. Not because I think this is anything revolutionary that people need to read, but because I think it’s all good – and I should be willing to share.
Trevor, my youngest child, is leaving on Tuesday for college. This is the day all parents have on their minds from the day their child is born. We think about it, yearn for it, dread it, avoid it, embrace it – no matter what the emotion – it’s on our minds, constantly. It has been on mine for years. I remember when he finished his last day of preschool. Endings and beginnings, I thought. Life is just a series of impermanent situations, and as hard as we try to hold on to moments, jobs, situations, money, anything – really, the more we hold on, the more they escape our tightest grasp. I’ve watched my kids very closely over the years, but at times, have stayed far away, allowing them to grow and experience life. I picked my battles, and let them fall down and bruise themselves, so they would know how to make their own boo-boos better, because I knew I would not always be there to kiss them.
When Lauren was getting ready to leave, 2 years ago, we struggled in our relationship for the first time ever in those last days at home. She was obsessed with spending time with her friends, and none with me. The end of year parties and hanging out, and relentless attachment to the kids she might never see again were just too much to bear. I learned then, and am applying now the lesson of my life – Let them go, allow them to be, and look forward to what they will become. UGH!
Sometimes I look at my parenting process, and my children, and know I am only a self-proclaimed rock star. I have a better relationship with my children than any parent I know (except for Alison – we share the same views). I give them more freedom, allow them far more misgivings, but yet, they are amazing kids, and we have a profound respect for each other, and I wonder how many people can actually say that about their teenzillas. Sometimes I wonder if I give myself too much credit, though. A little voice inside of me tells me to write the book, and now that I have time on my hands, I think I just might give it a whirl. But – how do I know if I’m really a great parent? What if nobody agrees? Well – I received some interesting feedback on Friday, which inspired me to begin writing, and so here it begins…
Not only is Trevor leaving for school, but I am doing the unthinkable, and, 2 days after his departure, I am moving out of the big house in Weston, into a condo in East Fort Lauderdale. Downsizing, living where ** I ** want to live, rather than where my kids get the best education, being closer to my family (especially Lexi), and having a social life enticed me to say “WHY WAIT”? If you have to move the last kid out of the house – do it BIG! Move EVERYONE! So, I had to endure this incredibly painful condo application and background check – including 6 character references, to get the process started.
My friend, Irv called me, and told me about his call with the condo association. I suppose they asked him about me, and my character, and he told them I was a great Mom. (Thanks, Irv!) But what was funny was that the woman told him that everyone she had talked to about me had told her the same thing. WOW. 6 people all told the condo association I was a great Mom. It’s one thing to self proclaim, but it’s completely different when the people closest to you in your life all send you the same resounding message. I think I actually did it right, and I couldn’t be happier.
Now, I’m sitting here amid piles of boxes and clothes, almost ready to make the trip to Gainesville in 48 hours, and looking back, looking at now, and looking at the future. And I still couldn’t be happier. The road to today wasn’t always easy, but it absolutely was the most rewarding experience of my life. Looking back with love, I know the challenges were the lessons we all had to learn, to get us to today. Looking at today, I see that I have an amazing relationship with my kids that money cannot buy, and living in Weston, that’s pretty darn good. And looking into the future, I see clear visions for my children of being happy, successful, and fulfilled.
But in order to look forward so positively, I must let go of what was. I gave my kids roots to keep them firmly grounded, but wings to fly. But even more importantly, I am giving myself the same wings, as I must redefine and recreate who I am and what I am, without 2 children at home to center my life around. I’m happy to allow us to just be – whatever any of us want to be – in full support of their choices, their mistakes, and their successes, because that makes them who they are. And I am looking forward to whatever life brings, because it means I am alive, and I cannot think of a greater thing to be.
Lauren and Trevor – You have taught me the most amazing lessons in life. I love you more than anything in the world, and I hope you are half as proud of me, as I am of you.
You truly are a great mom, friend & person!
Good luck and hopefully we’ll see you when you return.
That was a beautiful story and you are starting your own journey that I am sure will be very exciting. We will miss you in Weston, but hope to get together soon. I will be feeling what your feeling in a few months. Corey doesn’t leave until August. Good Luck
You moved me to tears! This is an equally traumatic, exciting and anxious week for me as well as I send my first child off to college. I like to believe that I too have an amazing relationship with both my kids and am experiencing very similar feelings as they each learn their way and grow to be extraordinary people. This message of letting go, allowing, and looking forward could not have come at a better time.
I was truly inspired by your words!
You are going thru one traumatic time. Your youngest is leaving the nest and off to college. You too are leaving the nest and starting a new chapter in the book of Debbi.
Rest assured that the past 18-20 years of doing your most important and successful job has paid off. You have instilled your ideals, beliefs and spiritual feelings in your children. They are on their way to becoming young adults with a solid foundation. They couldnt have been an any better hands.
Enjoy the next step.
You never cease to amaze me! Is this the same “girl” that I met in high school so many years ago? The “girl” that…well we won’t get into the details…that I went to college with? You have grown into the most remarkable “woman” and yes, one of the most remarkable mothers that I know. I am so proud of you and ALL that you have become. You are one in a million! No matter where Lauren and Trevor end up in life they will always be the luckiest two kids for having you as their loving mother.
Good luck to YOU in this very exciting new chapter of your life…Chapter One…Debbie Does Fort Lauderdale…You know me…I couldn’t stay serious the entire time! Love you!
You have said what so many of us have thought when we faced the time and space you are in right now. It is time for the wing span to be spread fully and proudly as you have earned the right to soar to new and different heights in this new stage of life.
I want to thank you for reminding me that when my one and only son left for college, 5 years ago, I too realized that no matter what my professional and academic accomplishments had been, what held the most meaning for me was that I am Josh’s Mom.
Enjoy the next phase of your hard earned life and don’t forget you will always be Trever and Lauren’s Mom!
Dear Debbie, Nancy, Irv, Sue, Ann, & Sharyn, (And Alison – through your shared comments tonight over a glass of wine)
WOW – I’m speechless back at ya! Thanks for your amazing comments, and incredible support of me as a friend, and as a fellow parent raising our kids. It means so much to have the respect I do from each of you – and you have it back tenfold from me.
I have solicited advice from all of you at one time or another – and you have all helped me through this incredible experience, so I can never take full credit. I’m thankful for you all as amazing friends, and wish you so many well deserved blessings with your children.
Thanks for helping me count my blessings along the way!
I’ll talk to you all – when I’m officially an “empty nester”!
GAINESVILLE BOUND TOMORROW!