I knew this day would come and I knew things were going to be different. I have tried to prepare myself as well as, Natalie. However, I have an overload of mixed emotions that come and go like the ocean waves. You know the ones that are so tranquil and enjoyable then the next thing you know you find yourself on the shore digging sand out of all your crevices after flailing yourself about trying to stand. That is a fair description. I shed tears on Saturday and so did Natalie. She moved into her college dorm. I know that isn’t a disastrous situation, but it is unlike anything I have experienced. I am so very proud of her, but things are different.
She has been my side kick for eighteen years and now she is settled into her new dorm living a life with people I don’t know. I have always known her friends and now I don’t. She doesn’t need me to drive or accompany her to the store. She is becoming the independent young lady that I have prayed for her to become. She has become the young lady that I tried to raise her to be.
When I had no one else, I had her. She was my inspiration to finish my dream of becoming a teacher to prove that I could be what I wanted to be, as well as, prove to her she could too. Life wasn’t always easy for Natalie and me, but we had each other. We have shared some great moments and some not so great moments. Now, I am here and she is there living in her moments. It is just different!
Ariyah asked me on the way home Saturday if it was true that Natalie was going to be in college for four year. I told her that was the plan and she replied, “I thought it was for a year with visitation. I don’t think I can handle four years without her.” The rationalization that my sidekick is now becoming the hero of her own life makes me happy for her, but has changed everything for me. It seems strange that there will not be any more high school track meets to watch her in because that has been my life for the past five years. There are no more Scholars Bowls meet to accompany her to. Life has not only changed for her, but it has changed for me. I thought I was prepared, but I am not so sure now.
She is only about eighty miles away, but it seems so much further. I find myself not sleeping waiting to hear her come in from work. I know that it will eventually get better. I know she is going to be okay and so will I, but today it is just different!