Fear: What if my oldest doesn't get into a good college and is forced to continue living at home and working at Dairy Queen? Free Blizzards aside, it would be awful for both her AND me. I love that girl, but she needs to learn the responsibility of getting up on her own, getting out the door on time and becoming a mature, responsible person. She is almost 17 and is too old for me to be her personal alarm clock. When I was finishing up my senior year of high school, my mom had moved up to Atlantic City from where we lived in Wildwood because she took a casino job and the 2 hour round trip commute was just too much. She came home on her days off, but I was left with the responsibility of getting myself to and from school, on time, every day. If I made a mess, there was no one else in the house to clean it up. Me thinks almost-17 needs a taste of responsibility.
Sadness: So many of my friends have high school graduates who are either going off to their first year of college or returning for their second year. Those young adults are spending less and less time at home. Some have on-campus jobs that require them NOT to come home for the summer. Forgetting everything I've written up there in that first category, how can it be that in just a year, my oldest will be leaving me, possibly for longer than I'm ready to have her gone? Last week she was a curious 5 year old running up and down the soccer field chasing a soccer ball with 12 other 5 year olds. Just this weekend she was an awkward middle schooler with glasses and braces. And wasn't it only yesterday that she was starting out her freshman year of high school, curious about making new friends and enjoying her time as one of the only 2 freshman on the varsity basketball team? What happened??
Pride: I could NOT be more proud of this child if I tried. Sometimes I'm so filled with pride I feel like I could explode. She's become such an amazing, beautiful and talented young woman that sometimes it's hard to get mad at her for missing the bus. I said sometimes. She's funny as hell, she is helpful to those around her, she's great with kids, patient and kind (kids who aren't her sister, that is). There is another reason that I'm so proud of her that I will talk about another time, but suffice it to say, she's pretty freaking awesome and I wonder how it is that we've raised such a great kid. She didn't come with instructions, yet we've managed to do something right, because she continues to make me proud almost daily.
Excitement: Am I scared to death? Yes. As her mom I'm frightened, since the future is so unknown, but she's smart and will do wonderful things. When she puts her mind to something, there's no stopping her. So I'm excited for her as she enters her senior year in high school and I know that this will be a year full of crazy fun memories for her, and I'm so excited and happy for her that she's as outgoing as she is, with a fantastic group of friends whom I love. Knowing what a great year she'll have definitely leaves me excited for her. But then come graduation, go back and read this list in order. Then repeat.
Being a parent is hard, yo.