Our oldest, 20 years old, is off living the college life she has dreamed about since she was a little girl. I couldn’t be happier for, or prouder of, our young lady: She is excelling in the classroom and representing her school on the volleyball court. But there is one major drawback: She is doing it all a 6+ hour drive from home.
Her sister, 17, is a high school senior. College acceptance letters are arriving and she is swapping calls and texts with the schools’ coaches as she tries to find the right match where she will be happy on campus, in the classroom, and in the pool. Family life is a little simpler now that she can drive herself to school and to practice. But that means we don’t see her quite as much, and I worry about her getting from place to place safely. Again: pride, happiness…and a little melancholy.
Now the boy, who is 12, still counts on us to get him from place to place, to attend his events, to help with his homework. He will be as tall as I am in the next couple of years, but clothing size aside, he is still very much a kid. Right now, seeing how fast it has all gone by with his sisters, I am well aware that I need to savor the soccer matches, the school concerts, and the swim meets, because if I blink he will be off to college himself.
We haven’t done it all perfectly, but I believe we have done it well. Each of them is happy; the girls have succeeded in creating options for themselves, and the boy is on a good path. Like most kids, each has hit routine bumps along the way; but in many ways each has had the best year of his/her life over the last 12 months or so.
So if it’s ALL going well, why write about it? Well, truth be told, while the kids seem to be on track, their parents are struggling a little with the transition in everyone’s roles within the family. It seems all too soon that we are seeing the girls leading their own lives in important ways and our role changing from supervising to advising. And the boy is right behind them.
Again, all too soon, the three of them will be living under other roofs, always needing us, but never in the same way as when they were little. Right now, we are somewhere in between. And learning to swim in this brackish water is a combination of gratifying, sad, nostalgic, and a little scary.