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!

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The next day Arielle and I hopped on a plane and found ourselves in beautiful Illinois. Everyone was excited she was back.
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Moving in was super easy because her roommate already had the room set up. Yay!
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We joined the millions of shoppers at Target and picked up the last-minute essentials. There was Illinois apparel everywhere!
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Later, I was feeling very lucky because I got to go to dinner with Arielle and her friends.
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Tomorrow I fly back home. Her room will be empty again. The house will be quieter…well, except for Kai’s drums! I’ll count the days until Thanksgiving break. Even though I miss her when she’s away…oh, how I miss her! I’m very happy she’s chosen the University of Illinois. Meeting her friends and teammates, driving around campus, hearing about all the activities, classes, practices and races it’s electric! This is an exciting time in Arielle’s life and I’m very, very happy for her.
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