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Aug 02

Squares on a calendar

My days with her are whittled down to squares on the calendar. Julie has a calendar she keeps on the wall in the living room, and wherever I sit, I can see it. I haven’t counted them up yet, but I can’t quite help myself from counting the weeks. Three full weeks left. Two partial.

I haven’t written about this because it is so emotional. It’s painful and scary and so wonderful that I’m afraid to breathe too deeply for fear of messing it up. My daughter is going to one of the best colleges in the country, she’s going to have opportunities that she can’t even imagine yet. She’s so beautiful, and empathetic and kind and brilliant, and I’m so proud of her, and incredibly aware of how lucky I am to have her.

Our relationship quite simply saved me. At a time when I was broken beyond belief, when everything I thought I knew was false and nothing seemed stable or real, Marc loved me so endlessly, and gave me Jessica. And she made my life okay. Being her mother, and then Sam’s and then Julie’s mother, gave me an identity and place to anchor myself.

And in three full weeks and two partial ones, that relationship, that foundational relationship that my whole world pivoted on – that’s going to change. It’s fundamental to who I am – being Jessie’s mother, being responsible for her. Not just the nuts and bolts, like food and clothing, but her emotional wellbeing, her character, her ability to self regulate and remember to eat, and to be kind to herself. I was in charge of all of that. Teaching her the skills, stepping further and further back, but knowing that I could swoop in and save her all the time.

That’s going to change. Forget swooping in, I might not even know that she needs me to do it. She’s going to have to save herself. She’s going to be an adult – and I don’t know what that means for me. I know that I love my mother more than anything, and that we transitioned into a healthy mother/daughter relationship between two adults. But right now? With three full weeks and two partial ones left of me being a full time mother to her, before I officially pass the baton to her. it seems so unbelievable to me. Not sad, not scary, not anticipatory – but unimaginable.

It’s not really unimaginable. It’s fascinating – what will college do for Jessie? How will she change, how will she grow when she’s on her own? How will she define herself, her relationships to others? How will her ambitions change, her goals, her philosophies? What will those relationships look like a year from now?

I’m just going to miss her so much. Yes, I’m enormously proud, and so lucky to have had the last 18 years with her. I’m excited about what the future holds for her, for our family as we adjust to being a family of four at home. I’m looking forward to all of that – and I’m clinging to that. Trying desperately not to focus on the fact that in three full weeks and two partial ones, she’ll be living somewhere else.

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