You likely know that I just sent my only child to college for the very first time. We are now 13 days without Molly in our house (but who's counting?). It has been a difficult transition- and not always for the reasons I anticipated. I expected to miss her physical presence in our house. I was ready for more quiet, less attitude and less drama. I was not prepared for telling the hostess at the restaurant that there would only be two for dinner. I was not prepared for getting up in the middle of the night and not finding her somewhere.
All of this change caused me to think about and evaluate parenting in general. The title of this entry implies that I have multiple thoughts on parenting. Right now I don't. I really only have one thought.
Parents have one goal in life. From the time a child is born we nurture, educate, train, feed and love them so that some day they will be independent. We make sacrifices. We forget about our own needs, our own desires, all for the sake of the needs of our children. And for the most part, we do this willingly.
For the past 18 years my life has been pretty much dominated by my daughter. I have attended school functions. I have bought prom dresses (three of them). There have been concerts, games and dates. There have been things that excited me, and some that I dreaded and regretted. Although I have worked, had hobbies and a marriage during this time, my daughter has taken a lot of time, energy and focus.
And all of that was leading to the day that we finally left her at her college for the first time. It was the day that we have been working toward for all these years. Our success was at hand. You see, the goal of the parent is to produce a productive, independent human being. We did it! We are successful. The time has come and gone. She is on her own.
And the final analysis for us is that parenting stinks. For 18 years we worked toward what turns out to be one of the saddest, worst days of our lives. Someone should have told us that. Be warned.