A long time ago, Newel and I walked our Alma mater campus with a tiny little four-year-old hand in hand between us and a toddler on one hip.
We pointed out places we'd been, memories each location held. Then took a stroll through the university book store, let that four-year-old select her favorite candy from the massive counter collection, and took her outside to sit and bask in the sunshine on the emerald green quad.
And then I said it.
"If you work really hard, one day you can go to college too and every day can be like this day."
I was a really young mom with very little experience. What can I say.
Poor child never took another easy breath beyond that moment and my guilt grew.
Until recently when I saw her, all grown up and oh so ready, achieve what she'd put her every effort into.
Tell us how you really feel, Celia.
Oh my goodness ... she's really going to go!
And she's planning to do it the soonest she can ... like summer term. I nearly hyperventilate with each Sunday that passes by marking another week down.
I watched all of her friends, with their acceptance letters to individual colleges, every one headed into a different direction, girls I've come to love.
I had a hard time keeping it together.
I've nurtured and taught and done all a mom can and it's time to let go and let her do it.
And then I caught this man who is such a "planner" sitting with her in his own thrill and excitement ... assisting in setting up housing, paying tuition, talking classes, creating budgeting plans, looking at job openings, and spread sheeting all she'd need to care for her own needs in the great big world. Heads together, they planned and planned all through the afternoon hours.
I had to hide to recompose.
I've loved every stage. Newborns. Toddlers (even stubborn ones;). Creativity of elementary kids. Social outreach of pre-teens. Even the foibles of teenagers make me laugh ... in secret.
Each child has been so very different with a myriad of talents, abilities and interests. No two are alike.
But for each and every child, watching as their dreams come to fruition when they have given 100% ... whatever those dreams may be and wherever those dreams may take them ...
Nothing beats watching them BECOME.