I NEED A NEW PAINTING

 

I took my son to college last week.  I am happysad, a term that he and I came up with after attempting to understand and voice our feelings about his moving off to college.  After a few conversations we began using those two words to make one. #HAPPYSAD

The weeks prior to the big move were hectic with travel plans, sorting and tossing, planning what to take, what not to take, which TV to bring, should he take his light saber," should I bring my guitar?" etc.... With all these details to work out we clashed heads a few times on decisions made and I jumped at the opportunity to get upset over the small stuff in order to deflect my real feelings of him leaving the nest.

The drive was awful.  Rain, rain and more rain....10 hours.  The rain tested us. We had to figure out how to prevent all of his belongings from getting soaked in the back of his pick up truck, how fast we should be driving, and where we should stop for snacks gave me a dwindling number of opportunities to "know what's best".  We somehow managed our conflicting opinions and our failing tarp and kept going all the while knowing that once we got there, he'd be staying and I'd be leaving.  #HAPPYSAD

We got him settled.  Biggest smile on his face in the history of smiles. 

I won't bore you with the tears that ensued as I hopped on a plane back to Dallas but before he pulled away from the airport departure curbside, with lips quivering and eyes brimming I told him that he is a good man and that I love him.  He gave me a long hug, held back tears and said "I love you mom".  #HAPPYSAD

HOME

I reside on the 18th floor of a high rise in uptown Dallas with a fantastic view of the city.   My college bound son slept in a bed that was situated beautifully in front of the "floor to ceiling" windows in the loft half of my apartment.    As his mother I have always made every and all decisions based on what was best for him but this apartment isn't near as conducive to two people as we'd lived in the past but we made it work for 6 weeks in a super cool "hey man, I live in a high rise loft apartment"  haphazard way.  All knowing that he'd be leaving and I'd be staying.

I moved his bed into storage over the past weekend and began rearranging my apartment. No bed.  I went to the grocery store.  No lactose free milk or men's shaving gear.  #HAPPYSAD

EPIPHANY

I live alone.  This fact is quite overwhelming.  For the last 25 years I have made myself available at a moments notice to both of my children and now they both live outside of my "moments notice" range.  I can no longer go pick them up or drop something off to save their day.  I no longer worry about what time they make it home. They aren't coming home.  It's a strange space.  Just as no one teaches you what to do when you bring a child home from the hospital,  neither do theyteach you how to let go of them.

What do I do?  Where am I supposed to be? Does anybody need me?  Who am I? What do I do now? Can I make you something to eat?

I take solace and comfort knowing that my two children are happy and responsible. A daughter in love, living and working in NYC, my son a beginning freshman at MIZZOU with the future to embrace is incredible and makes me feel successful at raising them.

Before leaving my apartment this morning it felt good to look at my living space. I walked up to a painting and took it off the wall. This sounds very mundane but it made me realize that my nest isn't empty, I still have me. 

I haven't decorated in years.  I need a new painting. #HAPPYSAD #FACETIMEISMYNEWBESTFRIEND