Bittersweet Birthday

My birthday month, aka August, is fast approaching, and rather than wanting it to hurry up and arrive, in order to get this party started, I want time to slow down or stop in its tracks altogether. For this year, August ushers in not only another birthday celebration for me, but it also marks the month my oldest daughter departs for her first year of college. Did I mention that she moves into her dorm on my actual birthday?!

The moment that I have expected and prepared for is upon me, yet I suddenly feel completely unprepared and utterly sad. Eighteen years just does not seem like ample time to get ready to send her out into the world at large, at least, not for me. She is ready, though. I am not, but I am trying to get up to speed.

I recall the night before I headed off to college. After spending the evening saying good-bye to some of my friends, I returned home and felt the excitement about my new adventure replaced with overwhelming sadness and nervousness. At one point, I even rehearsed a speech that I planned to deliver the following morning to tell my parents that I had changed my mind and was not going to leave afterall.

When morning came, though, I did not make that speech, and my parents and I loaded up the car and headed up to Ohio. I still had pangs of sadness and waves of nervousness on the drive there and during those initial days on campus, but I knew that I had made the right decision, even though leaving home and everyone there was one of the hardest things that I had to do at a relatively young age. Now, it is my daughter’s turn.

She is on the threshold of a new chapter in her life, as am I, and I just want to turn the pages to find out how it all ends. In reality, though, our respective stories will unfold page by page in due time, and I have to trust that we both are accomplished authors of our stories. It is going to take some adjustment to not being there to co-author or help edit her story, as I have done in the past. She has her own memories to create and her own stories to tell, and I know that they will be as extraordinary as she is.

So, while this birthday may be bittersweet indeed, my overriding wish is for my sweet daughter to make these next four years some of the best years of her life. I wish her a head full of useful knowledge and a heart full of love and joy, and may she always love and accept herself, as she both remains true to who she is and continues to grow. May she surround herself with genuine friends and wise mentors to support her and guide her. Most of all, may she always remember that I am here for her and love her to the moon and back, and that’s a lot, no matter what.

That’s another story. . .

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