My baby girl, who is currently 17 and a senior in  high school, is filling out college applications.  Yesterday, I helped her write an essay for one of the applications.  We are looking into grants and scholarships and filing away application deadlines and information about financial aid.  While I am actively helping her leave the nest, inside I am very sad.  My first born is going to fly away very soon to make a new nest of her own.  I’ve known this was coming, of course, but it’s fairly easy to pooh pooh when your child is a freshman or sophomore.  But a senior?  Man, it’s comin’ and it’s a comin’ quick.

I haven’t had nearly enough time with her.  I’m not done mothering her even if she is so OVER being mothered.  Add an “s” to the word mothering and you’ve got smothering, which is what I am trying not to do to her.

…I am finding it hard to hold back.

I am so happy that she’s going to get to leave home and experience new things.  College was a blast for me.  I loved it, and I needed that time away on my own to grow up.  She needs it too.  It’s not that I want to deny her that, it’s just that I wasn’t expecting her childhood to pass so very quickly.  I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday.  I remember her first day of kindergarten, her first lost tooth… I’m fixin’ to cry!   And WHY can’t I get the words to “Sunrise, Sunset” out of my frickin’ head?!

A few weeks back school started.  Every first day of school I take tons of pics of my kids in their new clothes, looking so shiny and smart!  Yesterday, I dug out Clem’s first day of Kindergarten pix.  She cut her own bangs 2 days before school started and in order to fix them, I had to give her bangs so short they practically stood straight out on her head.  She was so adorable!  I compared those photos to the very grown-up young lady with the short short hair in Clem’s 12th grade first day of school pix.  You can tell they are the same girl.  She has the same face, but it’s so strange to see it so grown up.  When did that happen?

When Clem was 9 days old, I took her to the place I worked at the time, so all of my co-workers could tell me how beautiful she was.  A woman there told me something that I have often thought of since then.  She told me to enjoy her while she’s young because time passes SO quickly, and before you know it they are gone.  Not really profound, but I have found it to be so true.  When I was a child, time stood still.  A school year could literally last three lifetimes.  But with my own children, I’ve noticed that time seems to have sped up.  She was just born and now she’s 17? How is that possible?

And when did I get so OLD?

One year my sister had a newborn and I was pregnant with my twins at the same time.  Everyone knows that time slows down to a crawl when you are pregnant (it’s my own personal theory on time travel) and it never goes faster than in your infants first year of life.  So we would have surreal conversations where I would be lamenting how LONG I’d been pregnant.  How I’d probably be pregnant FOREVER, and she kept commenting that no, time was racing.  Why, just yesterday her daughter was born and now she was already crawling!

Anyway, I know this is a normal stage of life, and I hardly have an empty nest.  Clem’s the oldest of FIVE after all, and one of our five won’t be leaving the nest, so that’s not what’s bothering me.  It’s just… I’ve really enjoyed watching my baby grown up.  She’s a really wonderful girl and I love her a lot.

…I will miss her when she flies away…