It’s difficult to describe the feeling of having the child you’ve raised for 18 years suddenly go away to college. Last August all four of us traveled to Illinois and moved Arielle into her dorm. There was excitement, trepidation, and lots of sadness as I realized that a way of life that I had known for so long was coming to an end. A real end. I stayed in Champaign for a week to give myself an adjustment period and to make sure Arielle was safe and happy. Looking back it was a very good thing I had MYSTIC, a great editor (thank you, Emma Dryden!) and a publishing date to distract me. Arielle was fine. I was not.
Now we’re back. In the last year Arielle has only been home for a scattered seven weeks. I’ve had to get used to texting, scheduled phone calls, and plane and road trips. I’ve had to manage our new mother-daughter relationship the one where I am not the boss anymore but also not a best friend. I’m the rock, the guide, the one with advice when it’s needed and Arielle will probably say even when it’s not needed. I’ve told her to be patient with me. Parenting evolves as kids grow older and sometimes I struggle to keep up forgetting she’s weeks away from turning twenty. Twenty!
We celebrated early so we could sing and eat ice cream cake!