the tilt and the whirl

5justwriteI don’t remember when but at some point she decided on a community college.  I wasn’t entirely unhappy with the decision because it meant still here she’d be, coming and going before me.  And then came a postcard from Northern Arizona University touting fixed tuition for all four years.  And the deeper we looked the more feasible it became.  Yesterday brought the acceptance letter and a merit scholarship offer putting it that much more within reach.  A decision is yet to come, but the possibility looms.

According to Google, there are 281 miles between the here and the there.

In over eighteen years not a curfew has passed without one of us being up to check her in.  The cheery lights on her little green bug pull into the drive and they close for the night and she comes in and locks the door behind.  I wonder how many nights I’ll lie awake if she goes–sleep as far off as the little green bug.

Even microwave meals pose a challenge for her.  And just last week she wrote a check from an account she closed, thinking it would pull all the same.  These are the reasons I cite when I tell myself she isn’t ready.  Maybe she isn’t.

But maybe the isn’t ready falls on me.

They say the teenage years are God’s blessing to parents, to ready us for a nest empty.  And with a will so steel and all the knowledge she’ll ever need I can see their point.

but then my stubborn memory flashes a tiny hand reaching out for mine and the breath catches in my chest.

At first, the hard part is the need so constant.  They pull you from sleep with the need for you.  They cry tears you alone can console.  But as those days turn to months and months to years the constant grows faint and bit by bit you watch them go.

The learning curve of this parent hood swings like that ride at the fair.  The up and the down.  The tilt and the whirl.  The ’round again ’round again, here we go.

Where it will stop, nobody knows.


  1. The years pass by so quickly, don’t they? Even now, I look at Kayla – her long and gangly limbs, her quick mind, her sense of humor. I just now we’re going to blink and she’s going to be seventeen. Eek.

    P.S. You know Tim & I both have our undergraduate degrees from NAU, right? We especially loved the Three-Year Degree Program (I just googled it and it appears to no longer be in existence…).

  2. You know I’m right there with you! Some days I am fine thinking of him leaving and some days, not so fine. This morning in the shower I had a mini-anxiety attack and I realized with a jolt that I will ALWAYS worry about him. Today, as I browsed college websites for possible move-in dates, the tears started to fall.

    But it’s good, going away. I have no doubt that both of our children will figure it out. Despite their discombobulated ways (I have one of those too) we’ve taught them well.

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