Tomorrow I will point my Honda Pilot in the direction of R-girl, load her stuff back into it, and drive her home from her first year of college.
I have no idea how this is even possible. I literally just dropped her off. And yet, this day feels decidedly different than last August 28 did. Like, different-universe different. So a few things must have happened in between now and then. Right?
Because, in case you missed it, I had kind of a rough time saying goodbye to R-girl last fall – and to the amazing chapter of my life that ended when she left.
Besides the fresh absence of one of my favorite people to hug, besides the huge void in our suddenly two-person household, besides the mid-life-crisis-divorced-single-parent anxieties, the worst part of saying goodbye to that chapter was that I had no idea how the next one would look.
But I had plenty of fears.
What if R-girl and I were finished? What if I was not only losing her in proximity but also in relationship? What if I would now only hear from her on Mother’s Day and see her at Christmas, if I was lucky? What if I would no longer get to listen to her hopes and her dreams and her analysis of everyone’s Myers-Briggs personality types and her crazy, giggly antics with her very best friends? What if I was being demoted to the least important person in her life?
I knew that all of those losses were possible. I knew that many losses were necessary and normal. I knew I would survive. But I didn’t yet know how.
If I’m being honest, I was as scared as I was sad. Yes, I was happy for R-girl to start her new life, but a big part of me wanted things to stay the way they had been for so long. Familiar and comforting. I felt childish and selfish to sometimes want the opposite of what she was so excited for. I felt alone as I wrestled the unknowns – as well as the knowns. And I felt helpless to fight off the feelings.
So I didn’t.
I let them come.
I let her go.
I let time pass.
I let myself adjust, reacclimate, and start to enjoy the new rhythms of my life.
I find myself here.
A whole school year into this new chapter.
Things have definitely changed. In some pretty great ways, actually. There have been a few (very sweet) surprises. And even though R-girl is coming home for the summer, it’s clear: This is a new chapter of R-fam, not a return to the old one. And that’s a good thing.
Oh, and guess what?
Here’s to new chapters being unexpectedly richer than the last, friends. xo