The Extraordinary is in the Ordinary
Just a few short weeks ago, I dropped off my oldest child—my daughter Isabella—at college.
It was much harder and more emotional than I could have expected. But it was also beautiful in ways I couldn’t have imagined. (And yes, I cried my face off. Right. Off.)
The thoughts and feelings that have been swirling around in my mind and my heart are finally settling down, and so I wanted to share some of them with you. <3
As I trailed Isabella around campus, watching her independence shine brighter than ever, I realized that so much of what USED to worry me no longer mattered. Not one bit.
For example, nobody asked about the level she was in at dance or how her team placed at competition. I didn’t hear a single question about her class rank or how many friends she had at home … or how many followers she has on social media. No one inquired about where her homecoming dress came from, what brand of shoes she wore to track practice, or if she got an iPhone in middle school (or worse, high school!). No one was curious about how many times she was or was not invited to sleepovers or other social events.
The list goes on and on, but suffice it to say that many things which seemed big or important or stressful way back when … they just weren’t anymore. They didn’t STAY that way.
But on the other hand, there were a lot of things that DID matter.
Memories flooded my mind as I accompanied Isabella from building to building, from classrooms and bookstores to coffee shops and dorms.
I had memories of her first birthday Christmas where I attempted to sew her a stuffed animal, her first steps in the living room of our first house, middle school conversations in her bunk bed, bedtime tuck-ins when she was little, prayers said together, school events with various outcomes … memories of rushed church mornings and runs to the Kwik Trip for donuts … I thought of family dinners and holidays, recitals and performances, silly traditions, the drives (so many drives!), welcoming new friends, cherishing old friends, letting her problem-solve by herself (even when it was hard), watching her become self-sufficient …
And mixed in with all of these memories were worries.
Have I done enough as a mom? Did I teach her everything she needs to know? Is she prepared for whatever challenges come her way? Did I turn in all the paperwork? I’m confident I didn’t.
Then my husband gently reminded me that this isn’t the end of our parenting. It’s just a new phase of it. We’re parents of a college student now. Parents of an adult who has grown and flown, but who is still our little girl. It’s her stage now.
So here’s to all the parents out there … may we cherish each day we have with our kids, knowing that the extraordinary is in the ordinary. That the seemingly little things—the personal things—matter most. The day-to-day love and life and learning—they are more extraordinary than we could ever fully understand.
And to the recent grads and new college students out there … may you look back on where you came from and dream of all the places you can go from there!