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Hashtag: I Need More Time

Posted in: Blog by amy on August 19, 2019

“When Ben was going to college, you wrote like a hundred blogs. I’m leaving tomorrow and you haven’t written anything,” Emily, my college-bound daughter, joked last night. There’s truth to that, and it seems to play right into the stereotypes about birth order. Emily is my middle child. Besides the fact that her older brother commanded (and often demanded) much of my time, her younger sister is my twin, sharing a birthday and so much more with me. Throw in the fact that Emily’s father and stepmother brought a sweet half sister into her life, and it’s easy to see that the family spotlight hasn’t been directly shining often on this middle child. I further played into this middle-child syndrome by not contemplating her departure for months on end. Although, just because I wasn’t analyzing her flying the coop as openly didn’t mean that the reality was not always on my mind. 

IMG_4843I don’t know if it was the chicken or the egg: Did she become so fiercely independent because she had to be that way? Or did we give her so much autonomy because she proved herself, at a very young age, to be so capable, reliable and simply easy to be around? All I know is that the time with this one flew by at lightning speed. With her independence came a level of privacy, as well. I knew less about her day-to-day activities, about her classes, about her friends, about her dreams. It wasn’t because I cared less than I had with my first. It was just simply because it was what it was. Life was busy. She was easy and so well-adjusted to every situation. And, the hands on the clock stayed true to their usual pace. 

Now, here we are. She just got on a plane to go to school 1,000 miles away. It all crept up on me so quickly. When Emily was starting high school, I had her closet professionally re-done with shelves and drawers to hold the piling mounds of clothes. As the months passed, I kept telling her that we needed to organize the new closet. There never seemed to be time. A couple of months ago, at the end of her senior year, I was putting some clothes away in her closet as she was doing homework on her bed. I said, “Em, we still have to organize this closet!” Then, it hit me. We’re out of time. “Emily! You’re leaving so soon. We don’t have any time. I need more time!” I started to cry. She started to laugh. She called her younger sister into the room and warned her that Mom was having a meltdown. I kept saying through my tears that I needed more time. The joke amongst us became: “hashtag: I need more time.” And, it was true. I really did need more time. 

But, don’t we all need more time? I was talking to my best friend the other night. Her son was about to leave for college the next day. I told her that I simply didn’t spend the amount of time with Emily that I could have. The time that I should have. The time that I wish I had back right now. She said to me: “You know that my college-bound son and I are attached at the hip and did everything together right? Well, I still feel that I didn’t have enough time. You never have enough time.” Her words instantly comforted me. They washed away my feelings of longing and kept those nagging feelings of regret from knocking on my door. No parents feel as if they have had enough time, as if every lesson was taught, as if every laugh was had and as if every hug was given. When we love something, we often want more of it. That’s the nature of love. That’s the battle with time. IMG_4797

I also realized, once again, that now is what matters. It doesn’t matter how much or how little time we spent together in the past. Maybe Emily and I will go on long hikes together when I visit her in Colorado. Maybe we’ll talk more on the phone. Maybe we’ll carve out a new connectedness that’s even better than before. Ironically, that’s exactly when I felt the closest to my mom — when I went away to college. 

So I’m wiping my tears and celebrating our new normal, whatever that will be. And while I really want more time, I am so fortunate that I actually do have it. I am here. She is there. We are connected … even though we are apart. 

I just walked into her room and stood in her closet. She told me that she left it messy for me so I wouldn’t miss her too much. She’s so darn cute. As I folded a couple of sweatshirts, I smiled knowing that my messy, sweet, independent, awesome middle child is on her way. She’s on her way to great times, adventure and growth. Just like we are as mother and daughter — this is a time of great times, adventure and growth for us, as well. Hashtag: I Do Have More Time. 


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