When Doing Your Job Breaks Your Heart

by Elizabeth Stasny

Going to collegeLater this morning, I have to take Rebecca to move into her dorm room. The car is packed with her stuff. She has been preparing for the move all summer — buying XL twin bed sheets, bedspread, new computer, books, clothes (after all, she wore a uniform to school until now), and more. On Monday night, we had a dry run — she insisted that we pack everything into the car to make sure it would fit. After a bit of consolidating, we fit it all into the Honda Civic. It really is going to happen — Rebecca will be leaving for college.

When I was pregnant with Rebecca, I said that I was happy waiting a long time for her to be born because I knew where she was and I knew she was safe. When I had to go back to work and leave her with the two grandmas who took care of her until she was six months old, I was sure that they had set up the whole babysitting scam to steal my beautiful baby. (Fortunately, I was wrong.) When she started daycare, I worried about drop-offs and hoped to leave a happy girl each morning. Then, when she was happy to be at school and ran off to be with her friends, I was miserable at work because she didn’t need me. But she would run up and hug me when I picked her up in the evenings, so I knew she did need me after all. In grade school, she wanted me to walk her in to school every morning. In middle school that stopped, but at least she did enjoy spending time with me, when I wasn’t embarrassing her completely, and she needed my help with homework.

The last two years of high school she has been able to drive to school, so I wasn’t needed for that. Rebecca and Margaret, her younger sister, are incredibly close, so most good and bad news is shared with Margaret, not me. Rebecca has also spent a great deal of time with her friends this summer.
I know that a parent’s job is to raise a child who will be a successful, independent adult. I know that my job from the moment Rebecca was born was to help her learn to survive and thrive without me. It just is so hard to see 18+ years of doing that work succeed. My baby is a college freshman. I am going to miss her so much.
A #parents job is to raise a child who will be a #successful, independent adult - even when it breaks your heart. #parenting #goingtocollege Click To Tweet