When your teen is ready to move on — FranklyStein

Mags CollegeMy oldest is ready to go.

Last week she committed to York College of Pennsylvania. Her plan is study nursing and swim. If she could leave now, I think she would.

Over the past couple of months, it's become pretty clear that she's ready. She's done with high school, just about done with her swim club and pretty much done with us too. Friends keep telling me what to expect. They say her “readiness” will only increase in the coming months. By the time she leaves, we will be ready for her to go, they say.

But I'm not sure I'll ever be ready for her to go. This past weekend, she was away at a swim meet and I kept seeing her car out front and thinking she was home. Then I'd remember she wasn't, and I'd feel a little sad. I guess that's how it will feel when she goes to college — only much worse.

Recently I've been getting on her nerves. I'll joke about something she doesn't find funny. I'll ask too many questions. I'll set a curfew too early. I can see the irritation on her face. But that's my job as her mom, and it will never change.

The other night she called me from the swim meet. She was upset about something and wanted to talk. I was sad that she was sad, but it warmed my heart that she called to talk about it. It helped me to see that she'll always need me, no matter how irritating I am.

As a mom, I'm never completely at ease going to bed at night if everyone isn't home. I love the nights that the whole family is under the roof when I'm crawling into bed. It's a comfort level that I've taken for granted all these years. And now those nights are numbered.

We asked her at dinner last night if she was ready to go, and she surprised us by answering “no.”

“I still have a lot of shopping to do,” she said with a smile.

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Life editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 18, Lilly, 16, Adam, 16, and Jonah, 12.