I’d say that, for parents, there’s nothing harder than sending kids out on their own for the first time. But, that’s not quite true.
Because it’s all hard. Every last bit.
It starts from the minute you bring that tiny bundle home, afraid to leave the crib. Even when you’re right there, watching, you find yourself periodically hovering your hand above that little nose just to make absolutely positively sure breath is still going in and out and then the hits just keep coming — from getting those first vaccines to moving into a front-facing car seat to potty training to day care and preschool and kindergarten and middle school and high school and driving and then and then… off to college.
It’s never-ending. Parenting is just one big sucker-punch to the soul.
My oldest child is away from home on her birthday for the first time. It’s killing me. I’ve done what I can from afar — mailed gifts (even a b-day banner) and I’m locking in a treat delivery, but it’s also a three-day weekend on campus and her in-state friends are all headed home. I don’t want her to eat cake alone. She’s not the type to tell people that it’s her birthday, but I hope she does. And I hope those not-quite-adults come through for her. I know it’s not my birthday, but that’s my wish.
The only thing comforting me is that I found this picture from her sixth birthday, which apparently sucked. Hard. Judging from the plate, I’m guessing that teary face is the result of me telling her she couldn’t get a pass on shoveling those peas into her cry hole, even if it was her special day. So I guess there’s no way this birthday could be worse than that one — after all, I’m not there to make her eat peas.