The first acceptance letter came in the mail. It was a big envelope. Every movie you have ever seen about kids going to college tells you that a big envelope means good news.
I had been pushing her to apply. I have been nagging, cajoling, reminding, pressuring her to look at schools, fill out applications and seek out scholarship opportunities. Since July, I have been preparing her– trying to move her along toward her goals, her steps to a successful adulthood. So when she opened her envelope, and a folder with her name on it was presented in gold lettering, holding an acceptance letter and an unexpected partial scholarship, I was happy for her. Excited! Ecstatic! I took a photo and posted it to Facebook to brag to all of our family and friends!
And then she went upstairs, and she was quiet, stunned– overwhelmed. In the stillness that followed the elation, it was in that moment that I realized that I’m not ready to let her go, yet. The whole time she has been pushing against leaving the nest, while I was chirping about life and opportunity, and I realize that I too, am not ready to see her leave.
Life in the military should have prepared us both for this moment. Every two to three years, we get orders from the government telling us we are set to move. We pack up all of our belongings, to supposedly start a new adventure, learn new things, experience new places. We leave behind family and friends to move on to the next duty station. Each move comes with a mix of curiosity and dread. Will we like our new assignment? Will we fit in? What new things will we get to experience? What if it’s dreadful? I now realize that this was why she had been so dispassionate about applying to school. She wasn’t ready to move again. This time she will be doing it without us.