Dear daughter – this is harder I realized. It is the last day you are home. Tomorrow we will wake up stupid early for a Sunday and drive you college, first kid, first year at college, first time away from me. What in the actual f—. And I am sitting here, outside in the yard, on this beautiful Saturday morning with puffy eyes from crying in my bed all night, typing this to you. Or maybe to me. I have four more kids to go, so this will serve as my reminder every time another one goes off. Though, I am pretty sure none will be as hard as this – you are my first…which automatically makes it harder for your mom.
This daughter has had a lot of facetime on this blog – more than any of the others (believe the others do not let me forget this). I wrote about when you turned sixteen, and I cried then at the thought of this very day coming. And well, shit, here I am crying AGAIN like an asshole.
Every mother feels what I am writing about – and these feelings are exaggerated with the first one leaving, we are not used to the sound of our house without you. We are not used to something changing our family forever – this is the first one to change the family dynamic permanently. It has been a summer of days when we randomly have moments where we realize you will not be here soon, like in the car or the grocery store, and we get that feeling. The best way to describe it is a huge exhale with a total inability to take in another breath – kinda like a punch in the stomach, but without the pain. Our eyes well up and we try everything possible thing to not let a tear come out…holding my head back seems to be the best solution, I don’t know about the rest of you.
It is also the feeling that we want to kick you all the way to college, but sob cry while doing it. The endless parties or going out every single night of summer. The sleeping all day and getting up to go out again. The record amount of money you have asked me for and I have stupidly given to you, the concerts, the graduation events…all of it, US MOTHERS ARE SO OVER IT.
But then we walk by a room that you are sitting in, and we realize that we won’t see you sitting there anymore. We won’t here your footsteps way too late at night coming home. We won’t be asked for $10 for Chipotle and get that obligatory hug and ‘thanks mama’ when we give it you. And that’s where the sob crying part comes in, and it’s a bitch, we will tell you.
So this, all of this. Written by and for every mother. Every time – but especially the first kid and the first time. This is harder than we realized…
This summer has been strange and hard. We argued more than usual, I lost my shit more than usual. My struggle to accept that you are not an actual legal kid anymore, combined with knowing that you will not be here, and even when you are here, that things will never be as they were, sent me into control overload and a lot of f’ing yelling at you for ridiculous things. Sorry about that. This is harder than I realized. Note to self: don’t yell so much over losing control…ya just look nuts.
Your birthday. It will be the first time I will not physically see you on your birthday. I have had 18 years of looking at your face on your birthday and now that is over. And now I wish you born earlier in the summer. I don’t have to make your favorite cake this year…though I think I still might because I will cry if I don’t. Don’t worry I will eat it all without any trouble. I keep telling myself you will find a cake or something, but I still end up crying about this – stupid, I know. Missing your birthday – this is harder than I realized.
Roughly 1/3 of everything we are dragging up to college tomorrow is baked goods. I made you so much shit to make sure you eat enough and don’t feel homesick. I don’t want you to long for any of the things you get at home with me. The ‘freshman 15’ references the weight kids put on from drinking and partying…but not for you. Yours will likely be the result of your dorm room turned into a bakery. I can’t help myself with this one, and you’ll have to bear with me…baking you every treat I know you love has helped me FAR more than it will help you. I know they have food there, as you keep telling me – but this is harder than I realized.
This list. This list is things you need to know.
1. Don’t every take an unopened drink from anyone ever.
2. Don’t walk home from a party alone. Ever.
3. Keep your room clean – not perfect, but a little clean. This helps you in subconscious ways you don’t know.
4. Don’t do things you don’t want to. This took me til my 30s to learn and god damn it if I had only realized this back when I was in college. It is not worth it, and it will not be worth it after you do it either. So just take a f’ing pass when you want to.
5. Don’t f’ing vape! I will continue to send you and your friends terrible new stories of tragic teen vaping stories.
6. SILVERWARE and ALUMINUM FOIL DO NOT GO IN A MICROWAVE. EVER. you will blow the f’ing dorm up! I guarantee too many kids do not know this.
You will roll your eyes at all of these but we don’t give a shit, this is harder than I realized, just f’ing follow this, please.
Your friends. Whether we are that house that everyone comes to (mine is) or not, we love your friends as if they are our own. They have never knocked, and they aren’t supposed to, they sleep here, eat here and sit around my kitchen. Missing them was unexpected for me, I mean, I knew I would, but I didn’t think I would miss them so hard! This part, unexpectedly, is harder than I realized.
Don’t be afraid if you don’t love school. The amount of pressure for you to LOVE your college experience and to love it immediately is everywhere. I know I am constantly saying how much you will love it, how awesome it’s going to be and fun and blah blah blah. All these things keep churning out of my mouth in that nervous high-pitched voice I use to help myself from crying. Always know – IT IS OK IF YOU DON’T LOVE IT. A lot of kids don’t love it, at least not at first. You can call me anytime or never call me and tell me you love it or not so much. Either way it is ok. And I know I never say this to you, but I mean it. I just don’t say it because this is harder than I realized.
I will end this, telling you (and your friends) that while I am not the mom who prays all the time, or really even ever, I have spent pretty much ever night all summer whispering this. All mothers have one that they whisper – as a praying person or not…
Dear God – please let her have lots of friends
Dear God – please let her have good enough grades
Dear God – please don’t let her miss home as much as home will miss her
Dear God – please let her stay safe
Dear God – please let boys be nice to her and make her feel as great about herself as she is
Dear God – please don’t let her feel lonely
Dear God – please let her have the best time ever and become as awesome as I already know she is