Tag Archive | growing up

To My Beautiful Daughter

Today, my youngest left for college and I wasn’t there to see her off. As I’ve talked about in other posts, I recently moved from Chicago to Arizona. My daughter and I had planned to move together, and she would attend college out here. At the last minute, she decided she would attend her first year in Illinois and then move out here after the school year. As sad as I was about that decision, I completely supported her in it, and only want her to be happy with her choices.

With a new job and the financial strain of having just moved across country, I was unable to manage a trip back to Illinois to see her off to school. I have been devastated about this, and it has caused me to feel a tremendous amount of guilt. What kind of a mother can’t find a way to be there for her daughter at such an exciting and life-changing time in her life?

Although Megan had her father with her for her move, I still feel as though she needed her mom. Here I am in Arizona, with a job I love and a life I love… but I missed out on one of the most important events in my daughter’s life. I told my daughter that I would probably only be able to swing one trip back this fall… so it would have to be either move in day or parent weekend. She said she would prefer that I come for parent weekend. But ugh… the damn guilt is eating me alive.

So proud I am of her. What a beautiful, generous, intelligent, and savvy young woman she has become! She is growing up and making adult choices for herself, and I see her as being smart way beyond her years. When I shared my feelings of guilt at not being there, a good friend offered some terrific advice. These were the words she said to me, which offered tremendous comfort:

“Remember, Patti. Your daughter is capable and brave, and it is an honor for you to witness the new ways she is expanding her life that are fully in line with the natural order of things. You may not be there with her today, but you can find new and meaningful ways to show her love and support.”

WOW!

So to my beautiful daughter, I say:

Megan, I love you more than I can ever fully express through words, but of course, I will try! ūüôā You are the light of my life. You inspire me with your passion for life, your love of others, and your compassion for the students you’ve worked with over the last four years. What an amazing special education teacher I know you will be. Lives will be forever changed for the better because of you… trust me on this. You have a sense of self-respect that is admirable. You make me (and everyone you meet) laugh uncontrollably… especially when your chin quivers and your eyes tear up while your gut aches from laughing.

You love and respect your big brother, and I know that the two of you will always have each other’s backs… long after your father and I are gone… I take a great deal of comfort in that. I have not always been the best mother, but you loved and supported me through both the good and the bad times. I have gradually witnessed you grow from the sweet little chubby cheeked child, into a tall, beautiful young woman who carries herself with amazing grace. I love that you have my eyes… they are identical to mine and I love that we share that trait.

And so it begins, my sweet girl. May your college experience be filled with wonderful adventures, many lifelong friends, and a world experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life. Enjoy every single moment! I will be with you, in your heart and always right here, every step of the way.

I love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be. (Robert Munsch)

Love, Mommeg

 

 

 

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See Ya Later


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Last week, I piled everything I own on a truck, hooked my car up for the tow, and drove from Chicago to Arizona. To say this was challenging would be putting it mildly. However, the real challenge was leaving behind my kids, who I hope will eventually join me permanently. My 22 year old son is already out living on his own, but my 18 year old daughter will be staying behind her first year to attend her freshman year of college in IL. She is planning to move to AZ next year to attend school here. But for now, this is the hardest thing I have ever done. I did not realize how much I would miss her. I kept saying to her, “Meg, it’s okay. It will just be like you are leaving me to go to college a little early.” The truth is… I was the one leaving her.

I was in my 30’s, married with children, when my parents decided to pack up and move to Nevada. I was devastated, and thought they were being selfish. But as time went on, I understood that it was something they had desperately wanted to do, maybe even needed to do. They spent the last years of their lives enjoying life in the mountains.

So as Megan and I packed up all of our things, we had different boxes for her. Some were labeled “Arizona”, for when she comes to visit, and others were labeled “college”. We sat on the floor of her room packing those boxes, and I believe that is when the reality of it all set in. I always worried that I would have such a rough time when my baby left for college, but here I was doing the leaving first.

Saying goodbye was heartbreaking, for both of us. But it isn’t goodbye… just see ya later! As I drove away, with tears in my eyes, hauling everything I own in that 20 foot truck, I realized what I carried on that truck was just STUFF. What I really have is love… love for my children, love for the friends I left behind, and love of the life we have all built together. None of that goes away… life changes, relationships change… but they don’t end. Meg comes out to visit this weekend, and I cannot wait to see her! When she leaves to go back and prepare for her first year of college, it won’t be goodbye. We will just say, “See ya later”.

~ Patti Crowley

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History Starts Now…

What kind of world do you wanthistory starts now
Think Anything
Let’s start at the start
Build a masterpiece
Be careful what you wish for
History starts now…

– Five for Fighting

The lyrics above are from a song entitled,¬†World. ¬†I heard it while listening to my Pandora app in the car and it nearly made me pull over. ¬†I remembered something that happened when my now-18 year old daughter was in three year old preschool. ¬†One day when I was picking her up, her teacher pulled me aside and told me that Megan had handed in her artwork and proudly exclaimed, “Here is my masterpiece!” ¬†We laughed at how funny that word sounded coming from a three year old. ¬†But I digress….

The song brought that adorable memory back, and made me smile.  However, there is so much more significance for me to the lyrics from the song.  It made me think of how so few of us live in the moment. Many of us wake up each morning dreading the day ahead, worried about the future, and feeling regret from the past.

What if we looked at this moment as the start of our lives? ¬†We have the ability to live for right now. ¬†So why not make a decision to stop whatever it is we are doing at this moment, and think about what kind of world we want? ¬†We can “think anything”, “start at the start”, and “build a masterpiece”. ¬†We can do anything we want with our lives (within reason I suppose!), live anywhere we choose to live, and be whoever it is we want to be.

So, be careful what you wish for… ¬†Your History Starts Now!

~ Patti Crowley

Last Christmas

Illustration from children's novel, Christmas ...

Illustration from children’s novel, Christmas Holidays at Merryvale by Alice Hale Burnett. Caption:”There she comes! She’s falling!” cried the boys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This Christmas season is bittersweet. ¬†My daughter and I were decorating the house last night. ¬†Her brother, who is 21, was getting ready to go out with friends so he had no interest in helping. ¬†Last year, and every year before, we would decorate together, listen to Christmas music, and have some laughs. ¬†So at one point while decorating, Megan sat down on the couch and just seemed disinterested. ¬†Of course, I felt annoyed to be doing it all myself, but instead of getting angry, I simply asked what was up. ¬†She looked at me with watery eyes and said, “Mom, this is my last year home. ¬†Next year, I’ll be away at college. ¬†And Michael is not even helping us!” ¬†My heart broke. ¬†I just didn’t know what to say, because truthfully, I was thinking the same thing!

I tried to get her to enjoy the moment, and not think about next year, but was unsuccessful. ¬†I was exchanging texts with a friend of mine, so I told him about Megan. ¬†His response was, “Tell Meg she carries home in her heart.” ¬†I could not have come up with a more perfect thing to say, and his text blew me away. ¬†So I passed that message along to Megan, and she almost cried. ¬†I have to admit that my response was the same.

Life has changed, and so have the holidays, since my divorce over 10 years ago.  But although it is hard for the kids to share holidays, and have to celebrate with their parents separately, they know they are loved.  Growing up is hard, but so is being the parent to children who are becoming adults.  I remember those days when the children were young.  Holiday preparations were filled with excitement and anticipation.  I have to remind myself that although holidays are not the same as they were years ago, I can make them all about spending time with my young adult children.  At their ages, their lives are full with friends, school, and jobs.  Any time that we can carve out to spend together is a huge bonus!  I have to also remind myself that I am an incredibly lucky mom to have two wonderful kids who still actually WANT to spend time with me.  I suppose that means I have done my job.  I have to believe that I have done right by them, and that I will be sending them off into the real world with the tools they need.  What they do with those tools is up to them.

So, although at times the holidays lack the excitement they had when my kids were young, I have to accept that life changes. Change is good. ¬†I absolutely cannot look at this as the Last Christmas. ¬†Instead, it is the first of many Christmases with my “adult” children. It’s a beautiful thing!