In real estate, when a buyer and seller agree on a contract, there are a series of applications and deadlines and time frames that must be met: inspections, water tests, loan applications, appraisals, and a whole lot more. I am aware of all these applications and deadlines and understand that most of them take place in a relatively short period of time. I am very good at meeting deadlines and they do not scare me. However, I recently had a first-ever deadline — the dreaded college application deadline.
My Daughter’s Leaving Home!
Please allow me a moment of angst and perhaps humor me a bit as I segue way into this new realm. I have only one child and I am so remarkably cool and calm about her going away to college and starting her first big life journey without “momma bear” around. Yeah, right. This was so NOT the case, as I recently discovered, when I was thrown into an emotional place I didn’t know existed.
My family toured colleges in Boston, DC, and yes, Canada, and it was all very exciting until reality hit me in the stomach and I was forced to acknowledge that I am such a wuss, and yes, emotionally I am just like every other mom out there faced with her child leaving the nest. I am ordinary and regular and I openly admit what I failed to see coming: an emotional meltdown! Questions swarm in my head and keep me awake at night… “Will she be OK? Will she know where to go and how to ask for help when she needs it? Will she make new friends and feel safe in her new journey?” No one told me it would be like this! I have so much confidence in her, yet these questions are gnawing at me like a hungry wolf on fresh carcass.
So, I try to collect myself and find some grounding, something that will keep me on track, something that I am good at. Applications and deadlines! I have perfected both in my work as a real estate agent. Focusing on my daughter’s college applications and deadlines can help calm my anxiety. I am clinging to this because it is familiar. I am sharing this concept with those of you out there who also have a child leaving the nest, in hopes that perhaps you, too, can find some grounding here as well. Just focus on those applications and deadlines.
But wait… all those college deadlines are different! Here are two suggestions:
1. Just plan on December 1, December 15, January 15, and February 15.
2. Don’t forget the Common application that is suppose to be common for most schools and is, except for a handful of colleges that seem to want you to fill out their very own personal common application (common to whom?).
Then there is the actual applying and waiting for the answers and then the financial piece. Aye carumba! How will we all survive my anxiety!
In a moment of sanity I realize none of these things are my responsibility, except the financial piece, haha. Now is when my daughter begins her own journey in life. She is the one who must pay attention to the college applications and deadlines. I can gently remind her, but it is largely up to her now, and I would be wise to stay out of the way and allow her to make her own new steps, and yes, some failures, too. This is where it begins for her.
Does this give me comfort? If I am to be honest I would say not entirely, BUT it is a starting place. The first in letting go, perhaps.
So, here are some suggestions for others out there going through the same thing. (For those of you who have been there and done this already or watched your spouse go through this emotional roller coaster, go ahead and chuckle. Be my guest.)
1. Support and assist but do not do. Take a walk, go for a run, go hiking, go skiing. Give yourself some outlets and realize that your child has her own set of anxieties and pressures.
2. Breathe. If you feel that emotional storm setting in, find comfort in friends and other family members. I wish I had this advice when my daughter got to witness one of my more profound emotional meltdowns. Neither of us knew why I was freaking out, but the next time I get that feeling of a knife being plunged into my heart I will remember to breathe and then quickly run for cover somewhere until it passes.
So, while this has absolutely nothing at all to do with real estate I thank you for your patience in allowing me to vent and make fun of myself as I prepare to watch my daughter embark on her new journey. I will try to accommodate her and her deadlines and applications and swallow my concerns and fears, and I will take comfort in knowing that I am not the first mother, nor the last, to go through this!