Victoria, my youngest, will be a junior in high school this autumn. She spent many an hour filling out admission papers, collecting letters of recommendation from teachers and drafting essays. She sat on pins and needles for a month or so and was justly rewarded when she was accepted into the Summer Scholars Program at Columbia University in New York City. Tori will be spending 31/2 weeks taking classes in Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing. She will see lots of museums and art shows, attend flamboyant Broadway musicals and experience off-Broadway grit and drama. She is very excited and will undoubtedly have the time of her young life while bringing back many colorful stories to share.
While I am excited for her there is a part of me that is just a trifle melancholy. Victoria will experience all of this without her siblings, her father or me. Up until this point in her life, all of our "adventures" have been holidays shared by the whole or most of the family. When Victoria returns from NYC, she will have an entire chapter of her life that none of us are a part of in any way. She is beginning to break out of her chrysalis and her wings will not be far behind.
My husband and I are accompanying Tori to the East Coast tomorrow morning. We will spend a week visiting colleges from Boston to NYC. We will spend a few days relaxing by the sea in Newport RI before we we move her into her dorm room at Columbia and say our goodbyes. As always, these moments are bittersweet for me. My family is changing and growing and leaving the nest. This is as it should be. While I am happy and excited for each and everyone of their accomplishments, I am also a bit sad as I continue to say goodbye to their childhoods. Those cozy warm memories will live on in my heart, side by side with this soft ache of grief as I practice staying ever present to the wonderful and fleeting moments at hand. Presence and practice. Practice and presence. What more is there?