Saturday, May 22, 2010

Not a Lovely Parting Gift

There have been several times in the last few months that I’ve thought my heart would break, thinking about my eldest child going off to college. She is a senior in high school, and less than one month measly month stands between her and graduation.

I’ve been dreading graduation, and all that follows, from the morning of her first day of high school, when I sat her on my lap and sang a stirring rendition of "Sunrise, Sunset". I was teary-eyed, she was mortified, and the countdown to her entry to adulthood began. It’s been as if life has been in fast-forward ever since.

This past week was particularly difficult. She left Thursday for a three day trip with the high school choir and band. I was a bit misty-eyed when she left, as it was the last such trip she will take before she bids adieu to high school and runs, open-armed, through the doors of Fordham University. I would have performed a stirring reprise to "Sunrise, Sunset", but she wisely flew out the door before I had a chance to detain her.

The more cynical reader might theorize my tears come from the knowledge that her public education, now financed by the Rutherford townships coffers, will soon be funded by my husband and I (please buy several copies of my book, they make lovely gifts), but that’s just not true. Ever since she turned eighteen, I’ve had random flashbacks of my daughter as a baby or child, and the stark contrast between then and now has just underscored how fleeting childhood is, and how briefly our children share their light with us before they go off and illuminate the four corners of the world.

I’ve been worried that I’d be a teary-eyed basket case by the time she graduates, but my precious daughter did something before this last parting that has made me re-evaluate my sorrow at her imminent departure. She left me, my husband, and my son with the worst cold we have ever weathered. We’ve become teary-eyed, snot-nosed, coughing wretches who look like we’ve been tortured by sadistic germ-mongers. (See the photo above, if you doubt me.) Her cold, which resolved miraculously the day before she left, was not quite as awful. I guess she saved the best for us, as a generous parting gift.

If this is the way my daughter chooses to say goodbye to her loved ones, I’m going to have to rethink the “launching into womanhood” song I serenade her with as she goes off the college. No more heart-wrenching coming of age songs for her. When we drop her off at school this fall, I’ll be singing “Hit the Road, Jack”, spraying Lysol in her wake, as I try to outrun the plague she’ll undoubtably try to unleash upon us!

She’ll certainly avoid a tearful goodbye scene that way. Aww, she’s become a devious young woman, just like her Mama.

I think I’m gonna - ACHOO - cry.

©2010 Kathleen M Wooton


  1. Very funny, Kath! In addition to the sniffles, I'm sure Darling Daughter will also leave her mom with some great childhood memories. Also remember that she'll be home with her laundry before you know it!

  2. Too funny! My daughter leaves me with smart-A$$ comments and attitude from her 13-year-old self...

  3. Love it. I'm becoming maudlin about my son, until I go in his room and see all the cleaning left for me to do. I will not miss not having six cups in the sink.