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Third Time Isn’t the Charm

They say that the third time’s the charm when doing something; however, there was nothing charming about escorting Chicky back to Southeastern so she could start her third year of school (she’s actually halfway through her junior year because she took a few online classes this summer).

She’d come home for what amounted to only four full days.

I didn’t get to see her much because I had in-service meetings all week.

Although her room was a disaster while she was home, she had it all cleaned up by Thursday, departure day…

I did take half of Thursday off so we could begin driving earlier and not get down there too late.

The hotel was very, very nice.  Trust me when I say this because I have stayed in quite a few hotels over the years thanks to her travel soccer adventures.

We had fun playing with Thor, who was thrilled to be out of his cage after such a long ride.

After watching Gabby Douglas win gold in the All-Around, we headed to bed.

The drive in to school was lovely.

Seeing the school’s sign as I entered campus was soothing.

This is a place where the students are genuinely cared for…where the words of Jesus are not only preached but lived out daily.

Chicky had her physical, and we began moving her stuff in.

It only took a few trips to the car because her wonderful roommates helped out.  Every time we walked out, we got to see this…

New volleyball court!  There are even hammocks around the green space!

Chicky’s rooming with most of the same girls this year…nearly all of them soccer players.  It’s a good group of gals.

I watched as Chicky made her bed, hung her clothes, and created order out of the chaos that had only recently been created when we dumped everything in her room.

She’s a pro now after having moved so many times.

As time progressed, my heart began to grow sad, as it always does during move-in day.

I decided to leave before the team dinner because I didn’t want Chicky to worry if I was going to be able to keep my emotions in check.

The rain that poured down matched my mood…

She and I, it turned out, had a few issues to deal with.

Now, let me explain, in case you’re new to my blog and, thus, new to the mother-daughter drama that has existed in my life, Chicky and I have some history.

I brought a lot of baggage into my grown-up life…ugly stuff I had to deal with when I was a child.

Those things made me determined to be a hands-on mother to my own children, but I still deal with the after effects of a very traumatic childhood.

My hurts have led me, at times (cough, cough) to cling to my children, and they have often pushed hard against my mama bear claws.

Chicky and I, being females, have fought the longest and the hardest.

It’s a trend that we’re both working hard to reverse.

During her visit home last week, I actually saw us turn a corner.

We’d had one of those stupid arguments (most are, you know), and we’d both yelled at each other.

Then, Chicky did something quite unusual.

She came back into the room later and spent the entire evening watching the Olympics with me.

In prior years, she would have NEVER done such a thing.

She would have hibernated for days…stewing about things.

I did take note and tucked the moment into my heart.

So, on Saturday, when I was having my “moment,” we cried.

A lot.

It was so hard.

I’m tearing up at the memory, still so fresh and painful.

To see her cry was upsetting as well.

Big crocodile tears on my precious baby’s face.

It just broke my heart because I knew I was getting ready to leave and wouldn’t see her for a while.

Who wants to leave that way?

I went back and forth in my mind…could I pull myself together and eat dinner or would I go?

In the end, I left, but both of us were still very, very upset.

Man, that was just awful.

I cried the entire way to the hotel and even thought about checking out, however late it was, and driving home.

But I decided not to.

Instead, I took a long, hot shower where I cried and cried and cried.

It was awful.

Then, I crawled into bed, determined to sleep away the pain.

About an hour later, through a drowsy haze, I heard my Facebook notification go off on my phone.

After checking it out, I realized that I felt a little better, so I called Chicky to find out what she was doing.

She sounded happy, like our “moment” hadn’t happened.

I asked if I could go back and see her one more time.

She agreed and met me in one of the covered areas that her dorm has on each corner.

She looked good.  She’d changed her clothes, put on some makeup, and was gearing up for the team activities that were soon to follow.

We didn’t have much time.

I apologized for the way I’d left and told her about the epiphany I’d had during the drive between the hotel and the school.

I’d fully expected year three’s dropoff to be less painful and could not understand why it was hitting me so hard.

I’d come to realize that it was because she and I had turned that corner a few days before that I didn’t want to leave her.

Usually, we’re at each others’ throats from the second day of our visit, but not this time.

We’d had so much fun…shared so many great conversations…deep things…some political stuff…grown up stuff.

I also told her that I was PMS’ing.

Folks, let’s get real just a second.

PMS stinks.

More so when the timing is when you’re taking your baby to college.

Even more so when you suspect you’re pre-menopausal.

My emotions are all over the place for a few days during PMS.


Chicky and I shared a lot in the five minutes we had when I returned.

I hugged her.

I told her I loved her, a mantra I’d repeated over and over during both conversations.

My love for her (and Rooster) drives me to act crazy.

Yeah.  I’m not exactly that “mature” mama you typically see.  I go a little nuts when I haven’t seen my kids in a while, and that causes Chicky much angst at times.

I think she’s waiting for me to grow up.

Either way, we were able to clear things up, and she finally conveyed to me that she understood why I acted nutty.

HUGE breakthroughs!

So I left my girl for the second time, and things were better.

Does that mean that I didn’t cry a little when I got back to the hotel?

Of course not.

I did order take out from Olive Garden…a huge deal for me who doesn’t eat much…less so when I’m upset.

I stayed up until midnight watching the Olympics and teared up when we won medals.

I got up early the next morning, bade goodbye to the room that had only, 24 hours beforehand, held my sweet Chicky, and headed home.

I cried when I got home.

I need my hormones to get straight again!

Regardless of my sadness, I know in my heart that Chicky is where she is supposed to be, and I am HAPPY that I did not turn into the mom who didn’t allow her child to leave home (had that done to me and did not like it one bit).

I am THRILLED that Chicky is goal-driven, knows how to take care of her business (she shared an apartment next to campus with friends this summer, held down a job, and took several classes), and is a role model for others.  She has leadership skills that I, at times, envy.

While the third time taking my girl to school didn’t feel charming, I’m thankful for the lessons I learned.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that next year, when I take her for her final semester (yes, Chicky, I am going despite what I said, but I have A PLAN!), I won’t get gushy-eyed.

And if I do, well, I guess I’ll be keeping with tradition.

I love you Chicky, and I’m praying for an injury-free season, a deepening of old and new friendships, and for continued growth in your Christian walk.

One Response

  1. Your posts never fail to tug at my heart and hit home with me in a big way. You are such an awesome mom! I love my girls hard and deeply, too. Here lately, I find myself wanting to hold on more tightly than ever before, yet they’re giving me clues to let them go and allow them to really GROW UP. Oh, I’m trying, but it sure isn’t easy! Britt leaves for college next Wed. and I won’t be going with her this time. She wants to handle the moving in all by herself. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for me to grow up, as well.

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