When Jason Aldean released, “A little more summertime,” I’ll bet he had no idea that a woman would well up in tears at the thought of her baby girl leaving for college. The song triggered every emotion in me. Every stinking time I heard that song, I found myself wishing for just a little more.
The previous years had always been in anticipation of the next year. Excitement about the beginning of tennis season, football games, Yogurt World, track meets and more track meets and more track meets.
Last year, especially around this time, I found myself looking back and wanting more, wishing it would last just a little bit longer. Wishing it didn’t have to end. It did have to end and I knew it. I just didn’t want it to end.
It’s really paradoxical in a way because for years leading up to Amy’s graduation, I always told people how excited I would be to send her off to college. Not that I was trying to shove her out of the house, I just knew she was ready and I knew we had prepared her to leave. I was thrilled about it. Then something very strange and quite unexpected happened, I began to feel sad.
The first time it hit me was during Homecoming. She was crowned Homecoming Queen and I realized that would be the last time I would see her on the football field in a dress. I really didn’t think too much about it but then it happened again at the end of tennis season. I was washing her uniform after the final tennis match and an overwhelming sadness washed over me like a tidal wave. Again, I brushed it aside. Time and again, after every thing ended, I found myself with this empty feeling in my gut. I wanted more. Just one more. One more tennis match, one more track meet, one more year…..
Finally, one day over the summer I found myself seeing memories of Amy in everything that belonged to her. Everything I saw I could associate with some memory and then the longing in the pit of my stomach for just one more. It was strange. It wasn’t like I dwelt on these things or even looked for things to trigger memories. It just happened. Kind of took me by surprise. I definitely had not planned nor prepared for such crazy feelings.
Right before she left for college, Terry and I were having a conversation. Our famous morning coffee talk. (I highly recommend these if you don’t already have them with your spouse or significant other) I was just sharing with him all the crazy I was feeling. He knew most of it but I kept saying, “I just keep wanting one more.”
He looked at me and said, “You can’t have one more. Besides, if you had one more it would never be as good as the first time around. Think about it. She had a fantastic year this past year. If you did it all over again, it would never be the same. The outcome would be different. Instead of feeling sad that it’s over be happy that you got to be a part of it.”
He was right. I knew it. I hate when he’s right. His nugget of wisdom proved to be the best advice I received. It’s not really what I wanted to hear. It’s what I needed to hear. I needed to quit pining for the past, I needed to take joy and delight in my experiences with her and begin to look forward to her new adventure.
For those of you who’ve been there, you may have walked a similar path. Maybe not. Some of you are there, right in the thick of it. Let me encourage you, enjoy every single moment you can. Relish it. Cling to it. Embrace it. Know soon and very soon, you’ll have to give them wings to fly. You will be ok and so will they. For some it will come with ease and others it will take time. Don’t be hard on yourself if it takes you a little longer. Just remember: you can’t turn back the hands of time. Time marches on and so must we.