Archive | August, 2013

Leaving the Nest

17 Aug

IMG_1396It’s that time when kids are leaving for college. Baldwin’s school starts early September but many of her friends have left or are leaving in the next few days.

Her friend Anna stopped by yesterday to say good-bye. Today, she’s on her way to North Carolina State where she’ll major in biology.

I love when my daughter’s friends stop by. I love hearing about their  lives, their hopes, their fears. When her “cousin” Tyler dropped by when she came home from college in June, I was so happy that she wanted to visit with not just Baldwin by with me too. I even called her dad, our long-time friend Jason, to announce that I’ve officially become my mother, who got such joy in seeing the kids she’d watch grow up stop by to just chat.

As we sat at the kitchen table, I asked Anna if she was excited.

“I’m really scared. I’m freaking out. I’m happy I’m going to be near my family so that if I have a breakdown, they’ll be nearby.”

I told Anna that feeling this way was normal. (We throw around the term breakdown. It’s a Montclair thing).

“If you weren’t scared, then there would be something wrong. Of course you’re scared. This is a huge deal. You’re leaving everything familiar and starting a completely new phase of life.”

Anna, who is super-mature and always a delight to have around, thought for a minute.

“I’m so glad you said that, it makes me feel so much better.”

I’m glad I could make her feel better.

Baldwin’s friend Chester leaves next week for Leigh (lacrosse scholarship–go Mountain Hawks);  they’ve been friends since  he was 14 months and she was 10 months).  Holly left last week for Colorado, Liam left for Clemson last Friday, Sam left today for Syracuse .

Her boyfriend left for Penn State in June.

Baldwin is anxious, but also scared (she won’t admit to the latter).

We are extremely close.  I’ve stressed to her everything that I think is important–integrity, kindness, intelligence, grace, will and an insistence in being herself.  At the risk of sounding boastful I think she posses these qualities. But I’m scared too.

Has she really gotten it all down? Will she be able to organize her schedule? Will she be able to focus?

Nervous or no, scared or no, I have to nudge her out of the nest. It’s nature’s way;  it’s part of being a good parent. We teach them how to fly, how to forage and survive. We force ourselves to trust that they’ve learned the lessons we’ve tried to teach.

We’ve done the dorm shopping. We’ve had numerous talks. She still has another two weeks at home.  She’s equipped with everything I can think of and still…