Tag Archive | mothers and daughters

Road Trip, Part 1

I have so much to share! I’m pretty sure this will be a multi-post story, because otherwise it would be TL;DR for all of you. This past weekend, the girl had an audition for the music school at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, so she and I got to take a short road trip. The audition was Saturday, so we drove down Friday morning to give us plenty of time to explore Lincoln. We were most excited about bookstores, so our first stop was Bluestem Books, and it was our favorite! It was a beautiful shop with a big knitting section right in front:

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There was also a charming children’s room with a big, squishy armchair, and a lovely literature section, with lots of collectible first editions. We both found a couple of books there. From there we went for lunch, and we were told to try Runza. I loved this table sign:

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Sadly, they call it “hand-knit” when it’s really crochet, but it’s an awesome scarf and I love that they’re doing this! Our second bookstore experience was A Novel Idea, and it was a fun store too. It was more funky, had an eclectic selection, focused on reading copies more than collectible copies, but we still found books to buy. And two shop cats to pet! I also loved that they featured knitting/crafting books in their front window.

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This was the awesome staircase between the basement and first floor. Wouldn’t you love to do this in your house? I would!

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We had our first experience with room service (loved it!), ate a lot of junk food, and walked all over downtown Lincoln. The campus is right next to the downtown area, which is super convenient. We had a delicious meal at Vincenzo’s, a locally owned Italian restaurant, and made our way to Indigo Bridge Books. It’s an independent new bookstore, so it had a small selection of new books, as well as an attached coffee shop and other fun stuff (notebooks, pins, totes etc). I was very tempted by this bag.

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We made sure to visit Hurt’s Donuts, open 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. It was sort of like a secret club, hidden inside a big building downtown. We had three people stop us as we left to find out where it was. They have so many wild and crazy donuts and we bought six and all six were delicious. Choosing just six was very hard. (FYI: Andes Mint, Dirt, Twix, Cookies & Cream, Cosmic Brownie, and Cookie Monster.)

Of course the real reason we were there was the university. It was cold and icy so it was hard to explore the campus too much.

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But there were good informational sessions, and a pizza lunch where we got to sit with the flute professor and ask whatever we wanted. The audition went well, at least to my untrained ear, and the girl felt good about it, so now we just have to wait for some good news. And if it’s good news we get, the girl has her Cornhusker hat ready to go!

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It was just a really fun trip, and I’m so glad I got to spend this time with her before she runs off and leaves me. Next time, I’ll tell you about all the yarny goodness, and believe me, there’s plenty of it!

Looking Toward the Empty Nest

The other day, I said something that felt extremely weird and kind of freaked me out. I was talking to someone at work about my kids, and I said “My son is 14, and my daughter is almost 18.” It was the first time I’d said it aloud that the girl is going to be 18 soon and the reality sort of smacked me in the face. I know I’m not the first to say how fast they grow up and all that, and it’s true, but it’s more than that. If nothing else, I don’t feel old enough to have an 18-year-old!

I don’t wish they were little again. I very much enjoy my kids as older people, and I think I’m a better mom to older kids than I was to toddlers and young kids. I do wish I’d had more patience when they were young. I wish I’d taken more videos of them. If I could travel through time and visit their younger selves for a short time, that would be delightful, but I don’t want to do it all again. I think it’s more that you get to this point as a parent and realize the biggest part of your job is almost done, and just when they get to be really cool, interesting people, they leave you.

Then you start to question yourself: did I do it right, or right enough at least? Did I give them a happy childhood, fond memories to look back on? Do they have the skills they need to become independent, responsible adults? Will they be okay on their own?

I feel confident that she does have the skills, and she will be okay. I’m excited to see where she lands next, and watch her do all the exciting college things. As another parent told me, this is what’s supposed to happen. It’s a good thing, a happy thing.

But we all know there’s a thread of sadness too. I enjoy her company very much, I enjoy us as a family very much, and to know that we’ll see her so much less is a hard pill to swallow, even as I tell myself that it’s a good thing. She wants to go out of state, so she might be four hours away, or she might be ten hours away. Wherever she goes, she’ll be able to come home for visits. And I want her to go out into the world, to have the courage to venture away from home and try new and exciting things. I’m the tiniest bit jealous of the adventure she’s embarking on.

I am so very happy for her. But I am a little sad for me. I will miss her, if for no other reason than she’s more chatty than the two men in the house and she keeps me company.

However, a little is okay. I feel more optimistic and excited than I feel sad. But I also I think I’ve been in denial so far this school year. I thought I’d be a mess, crying at every “last” event, but it hasn’t happened…yet. Maybe it’s because we haven’t had that many true “last” things yet; most of them will come this semester. Maybe we’ve been so caught up in all the day-to-day stuff, all the college application stuff, that I haven’t had time to consider what it all represents. But I feel it looming. The college acceptances are coming in, the choices are getting narrowed down, that big birthday is coming closer. An empty nest is not that far away. I have primarily been Mom for the last 18 years. Who will I be after that?

I confess, I have entertained thoughts of life after kids, and they’re not all bad. The husband and I have talked of traveling a bit more (especially if we can get one of those grown-up kids to dogsit for us). We’ve talked about moving to a house that’s not a fixer upper in an area that’s not determined based on the local schools. We’ve thought about what paths we might want our careers to go, once we’re not quite so constrained financially. So yeah, it’s a little exciting for us too, for me. That’s what I’ll try to focus on as we move into this last stretch of senior year.

I don’t usually do those “pick a word for the new year” challenges, but it seems pretty clear that this year’s word is “Bittersweet.”

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