Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Slice of Life- Big Moments in Family Life

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Yesterday morning at convocation, I sat next to a teacher who is returning after a maternity leave. After six months home, she left her two young children with a babysitter and headed to work. I could totally relate to how hard the morning had been for her and I loved looking at the pictures that she has on her phone of her children learning to sit up, pushing a play stroller, smiling at their father-- they took me on a major sentimental journey. Okay, ANOTHER major sentimental journey... And then came the question that traumatized me all morning, because I can’t tell you how many times I was asked, “How are your girls? What grade are they in?”

Well, one of them (there are four) is a junior. That means that she is of the age to get her driving license and, in fact, she got it on Friday and drove to school for her first day yesterday. Yes, I have another high school daughter who I drove, but it's not the same. And for all of you who are approaching teenage driving years, know that, while it's  great independence for them, it's less time that we have to talk to our children.

Oh, and one of them will be a freshman in college. My stomach flipped as I wrote that because tomorrow, the countdown is over.

Tomorrow, Larkin and I will head off with a car full of life’s necessities. We will drive all day, unpack and set up on Thursday, and on Friday, I will. leave. her.

It’s what’s supposed to happen. 

She’s excited. 

She’s ready. 

She’s going to a great place, she will keep in touch, she will be home for Thanksgiving, she has a good head on her shoulders. She will be safe. 

She will be safe.

All of a sudden, August 28th, a date that has been far off in the distance, is really close.

A friend of my mother’s shared the wonderful practice that she started of keeping a box in her child’s room when he is away. Whenever anyone comes across something that they think he would like, they put it in the box, wrapped or unwrapped, but with a message. When the box is full, she mails him a care package. Larkin’s box will be on her bed when I come home, and I know that I will be filling that box over the next couple of months. 

If anyone has any favorite sending-off traditions, please share. I have some ideas, but am still open to others!

Happy writing,


  1. So many big moments in life captured in your post today. I keep a prayer box for MY children (nieces and nephews, friends...) and jot down wishes, hopes, worries, prayers.....I don't share them....but writing them down makes me reflect and pray in a different way for those who are heading off into new horizons....alone...as it is supposed to be.

  2. Melanie,
    This definitely is a big week for your family. Such a huge milestone for your daughter and yet such a hard time too. I am the mom of two college guys. I'm proud that they are becoming independent and the hole in my heart when they are gone is HUGE. I LOVE the idea of an ongoing care package! (OK, except I would need to hide it because any package I sent my boys would need to include food and my food-crazed lab spends her days hanging out on my boys' beds. Wishing you a week of joy!

  3. Oh my heart goes out to you. I'm in a very similar spot. This is what they are suppose to do and we are so happy for them. But what are we to do?! I have one in Europe and one who is about 2 hours away one in her bedroom, for now. Her driving test is scheduled for the 29th of September. I love the ritual you describe. A great way to keep the contact going.

  4. Pride and joy for your freshman daughter speaks louder than the feeling of loss. I know you will miss her. The care-package idea sounds so sweet. Congratulations to the fresh driver. Safe travels!

  5. It's a loving piece, Melanie, & while it's been a long time, I remember that transition well. It's a challenge. One is so proud that the child has come so far, yet the separation is not easy. Now I've also done it by saying goodbye to my son, daughter-in-law & grandson a few years ago. Still not easy. I occasionally wrote to my children in college (no cell phones then), but for my grandson I send a postcard every week, only skip when he's with me. Maybe a postcard once in a while will help? Hugs to you in your journey!

  6. This brought tears to my eyes, Melanie! I love the idea of keeping a box on her bed for items you want to share. I put newspaper clippings and such on their desks while they were away, but I never sent them to them. I like Linda's idea of sending a postcard. I'll be thinking of you over the next few days!

  7. Loved this piece… seems to be the only words I can use to describe my response. I was with you for every word… thank you for sharing and helping me as my oldest begins high school. Each step is part of the journey to treasure.