Well. I did it. I sent my oldest off to college. To be honest I am pretty sure I looked like a parent who had just sent their baby into an OR to have some kind of major surgery to save their life. After hugging McKenna goodbye in her dorm I walked into the hallway only to run into two RA's. They are the resident students who are sort of "parents" to the kids in the dorm. Both RA's looked at me with a pathetic look and one said, "Your oldest and she's a girl? Ouch, that's a double whammy!". Yes, I cried like a baby. As I walked to the car with my new baby in my arms my mind and heart were filled with all kinds of nostalgia about Kenna. I remember when she was small enough to fit into the crook of my arm. She was my first, I was a fledgling. Every step of her life has been trial and error for me and there have been times when I have had it all together and there have been times when I have felt very sorry for her. I can be a screw up too! I still remember the first time I nursed her. The first time I left her with someone else. The first time she cried and I couldn't fix it. Just the other day when we dropped off a kiddo at the Elementary school together she said,
"Man, I have the worst memories of this place!"
"What are you talking about Kenna? Weren't you happy here?"
"Mom, I was tortured and teased everyday I was here...it was miserable!"
"Kenna, why didn't I know this? Didn't you have any friends?"
"There were these two other girls that were also outcasts and we used to sit under the big tree together at recess..."
"Kenna, I am so sorry, I don't know why I didn't know this. Did I ever try to help you? I don't even remember this happening!"
"I don't know mom, I just know how much I hated being here!"
My heart broke when I heard this, I almost cried. I thought I was such an "on top of things" kind of parent. How did I miss the fact that my baby was so miserable for more than 3 years of her life? ( We moved into this school when she was in the 3rd grade). Was I not listening? Did I miss the signs of misery? Was I too engrossed in my own life to notice how my child felt?
After that conversation and dropping her off in a flood of tears I looked down at my new baby and wondered how much I was going to miss with her, and the other eight above her? I know I am not perfect, but I really think I try my best. At least most days I do. I am glad that this time has come for McKenna. She deserves to go out into the world and find her own kind of happiness. That is the sweet part of my post. I am excited for her, happy for her and almost envious of her. The bitter part is knowing that she is on her own now. She is no longer drinking soda with me and watching The Adams Family late at night with me. It's also bitter knowing how much I may have screwed up, and knowing that most likely I am missing with the others as well. I know I am only human and I can only do what I can do, but I wish I was more than that. I wish I could see every need and fulfill it. See every dream and help it come true. See every bit of heartache and make it better. I can't though, but I hope that through all of this they someday come back to me with some understanding and love knowing I did my best.