Last week was full of lasts for my oldest.
She had her last club swim meet, last summer team home meet and final club banquet.
At our summer pool, I’ve been watching the big kids jump through the hoop and stand on the blocks for a senior tribute for years. Until it was her turn, however, I was in denial that a child of mine could be one of those big kids. And not only is she one of them, she’s also a coach this year. All the little kids were cheering for Coach Maggie — who I can still vividly picture swimming the length of the pool for the very first time.
Then it was her senior banquet. The club has a wonderful tradition where each senior is called up, shakes hands with every coach and then gives a speech. Her speech was sweet, funny and very sad. She was so beautiful and poised, but when she got to the part where she thanked us, she couldn’t talk. An ache began to spread in my chest.
It finally started to hit me that she’s leaving. I can’t deny it much longer. In 38 days, we will be dropping her off at college. My boss said yesterday that she’s waiting to see how I handle that. She said she was fine dropping her daughter off until she got in the car and pulled away.
It helps that I know she is ready. She’s mature, smart and has a good head on her shoulders. Over the years, she’s always made good choices, and I think her college is one of them. It seems the perfect fit, and she already has a support network of friends thanks to the swim team.
Still, It won’t be easy pulling away. I know my heart will be heavy until I get used to the idea that she’s not in the house and not coming home for awhile. The nights when everyone’s asleep under the same roof will become the exception rather than the rule.
Until then, I’m going to try and savor all the lasts until the very last minute.
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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.