Today, for some reason, I was driving along, thinking of making smoothies for my kids for breakfast. Not today. No, I was thinking about the school year and how I could get them to eat something nutritious before school and I thought of smoothies. And then I realized that they are teenagers and no teen in their right mind ever wants to eat ANYTHING before school, and besides, was I really going to get up every day and make them smoothies when I could be sleeping? No freakin' way! See, at times I do fantasize about being a perfect mother but I embrace mediocrity at all costs.............
Anyway. It suddenly occurred to me, with one of those gripping "Holy Shit!" moments that, even if I were to embrace the good mommy fantasy and actually make my children a smoothie for breakfast, I will not be making ANY type of breakfast for my eldest child. Because she will be going away to college! And furthermore, she won't be here for dinner either! Waahhhh!!! I mean, it's not like I didn't know this. I've known for a good, long, time that she's headed off to college in a few short weeks. But, like all parenting moments, occasionally you clutch your gut in pain from the imaginary blow that is the realization that you actually have to let your kids GO.
I remember saying to a friend once that sending my baby to first grade was like "feeding her to the lions". Just throwing her to the unknown, the big, bad world, to face people from all walks of life....how could I DO that? But I did. When my son, my youngest, was in preschool, he cried every single day. I left the preschool crying at times, once I even had a mini panic attack, and wanted to rush back, collect him from the evil world of Legos and rice tables, and hide both of us under a blanket at home. Like I said, I panicked. But I didn't go collect him. I let him work it out. Just like every other situation my kids have faced.
Last night my 13 year old came home from cheer practice bruised and battered from being dropped too many times. You see, she's a "flyer" which means she's the tiny girl who gets tossed in the air and (hopefully) caught by her teammates. But they dropped her. Over and over. So, she came home with a bruised tailbone, ribs and wrists and was in a state of highly charged anxiety over the whole thing. Of course, my first thought was to pull her out of this obviously dangerous and crazy sport and hide her under a blanket at home. But instead, she texted her coach with her concerns and things started to look up. What maturity! What grace! And I didn't even have to go all "mommy" on anyone.
Today my eldest is at work for a ten hour shift and she's sick. She feels horrible, nauseated and just plain worn out. She called me and texted me several times, but the thing is, this isn't high school. I can't write her a note or go pick up her from the nurse's office. She has to deal with it on her own. I offered to bring over some Tums, and suggested she eat something, but in the end, it's really between her and the boss whether she gets to take a "sick day" or not. Of course I wanted to bring her home and tuck her into bed and feed her chicken noodle soup. But.....that's not my job any more. Well, it IS. Just not all the time.
Last night we had a discussion, my college-bound daughter and I. She said her boss could keep her on staff and when she returned home on weekends or for school breaks, she could pick up a few shifts here and there. I said "OR....you could just stay home and earn the same degree from your college's branch campus which is right down the road" to which she replied "No, mommy, it's time to let me spread my wings and fly". To which I replied "It's much cheaper to clip them!" Sigh. She's right. So am I.