Anne Notations

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bye-bye, baby

Bogotá, Colombia; January 1991

In these last days it has come down to lists.

Things to buy:
Twin XL sheets
Underbed storage for winter clothing
Desk lamp

Almost every parent with a child leaving for college asks the same question: How did we get here already? Wasn't I just fastening size small Huggies around this girl's tiny waist?
Wasn't she just learning to swim in the deep end? ... bringing home hand-lettered Mother's Day cards from elementary school?
Weren't we just shopping for her first formal gown?

At Seekonk Swim and Tennis Club, summer 1994

Our soccer stars: Kevin, Andrés, Melinda; fall 1997.

Things to do
Practice using credit and debit cards
Order mini-fridge rental for dorm room
Finalize course registrations online
Weed out clothes no longer needed
Pack clothes for college
Try on winter boots

In just over one day from the time I write this, we will pack a rented minivan with Melinda's belongings and begin the five-hour drive to Syracuse University, where on Wednesday morning we will move our daughter into the high-rise dorm that will be her freshman-year home. Syracuse was her first-choice college, and she is excited, a bit apprehensive, and thrilled about this great new adventure. I wish I were as ready as she is.

8th grade graduation from Bay View, with Julie C.

At Friendly's with Torey and Victoria after Winter Ball, sophomore year.

It is hard to describe, without sounding pathetic, just how close I am to our daughter, to what extent she is the happy heart of our home. From the time I fell in love with that black-haired baby we met at an orphanage in Colombia, she has been as much a part of me as breathing. We have mother-daughter ESP, which is fun and sometimes unsettling: "How did you know I was just going to ask you that?"

With Bishop Boland at St. Sebastian's after confirmation, May 2006.

To me, she is "Honeybee," "Peanut," and "Baby." To her, I am "Madre," "Mother," and "Squeak Muffin" (don't ask). We sit on the couch watching the Olympics this month, Melinda's head nestled in the crook of my arm, her side pressed comfortably to my side, connected by our comfortable intimacy. I make a mental note to store up this moment and its feelings for the daughter-less months ahead.

Graduation from LaSalle Academy with best friends Julie B. and Torey, June 2008.

I am trying to be proud, happy, and secure that we have done our best in parenting this beauty. So why am I braced for the worst? Why have I cried in the shower? Because I know this chapter, our 17.5 years with this remarkable girl at home, is about to end. My life will be different from now on. Worse? Better? I'm sticking with different, for all the comfort it brings me now. (Not much, but I'm working on my attitude.)

College and a brilliant future are everything I want for our daughter. Letting her actually go is everything I dread.

To feel
Love, love, and love … without end.


  • I remember the wrench of seeing SonnyeBoy off -- pride mixed with longing and sadness. But college has breaks and homecomings, thank God, so it's okay. Wishing Melinda much success!!

    By Blogger bozoette, at Mon Aug 18, 10:47:00 AM EDT  

  • What a beautiful post Anne. I cried for you, and for my future self who will one day experience this. I wish you both much happiness to balance out the inevitable sadness.

    By Anonymous Dawn, at Mon Aug 18, 02:13:00 PM EDT  

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