We had unpacked everything from multiple cars and loaded it into my closet of a freshman dorm room about 90 minutes from home. My mom, older sister, boyfriend and dad stood in the parking lot saying goodbye, all of us crying. My dad's tears almost broke me that day. I think it was only the second time I saw him cry ever - the first when his dad died a few years before.
The second memory was from my wedding day. He walked me down the aisle, handed me over to Lucas, went back to his chair and doubled over sobbing. It was awful to witness. (And he loves Lucas.) I remember the shocked look on Lucas' face that had to have mirrored my own.
I thought about both those times today after I dropped off Emery for her first day of kindergarten. I sat in the car and ugly cried. I sobbed, pulled it togather and ugly cried some more.
The logical side of me kept saying, "It's freaking kindergarten. Get it together. This is no different than all the times you dropped her off at the babysitter's or at preschool."
But it is different. It's another step away from me. I've seen it described as watching your heart walk outside of your body. While that seems a bit dramatic, it's true. And I got why in those moments that were supposed to be so happy that my dad was sad. Sure he was happy for me but it didn't change the fact that I was growing up. Grown.
Parenting is such an odd experience of feeling complete joy and overwhelming sadness at the same time.
Those are the moments where I feel like my world shift. Sometimes it's a major shift, like the first time I realized I was pregnant or when the girls were born. Things changed immediately. My life was completely different. But then there are other time that the shift outwardly is small - my kid going to school as a kindergartener instead of preschooler - but inwardly it feels so, so much bigger.
For my dad (and both my parents really) the move to college was a major shift. I was no longer at home. I made more decisions on my own. It was the first step in becoming an adult. And while my marriage didn't change their day-to-day lives much (I was already living on my own by then) I'm sure it was a major adjustment mentally and emotionally for them.
So how did Emery adjust to all of it? Well, after shaking off a fever Sunday and nerves Monday morning, she was all smiles. (Maddie photobombing again.)
I picked her up earlier than we normally would (she only missed after school care) so we could have celebratory ice cream.
On the way home, she asked me not to pick her up so early tomorrow. She wants more time to play with her friends. I think she's going to be just fine.