The reality is setting in: Aidan will be going to college in the Fall.
And following a weekend road trip to Illinois, it looks like she will be going to college roughly 6-1/2 hours away.
We could not be more excited for her.
But it’s gonna hurt just a little.
Okay, who am I kidding? It’s gonna hurt a lot. On so many levels.
I love this kid’s guts.
Literally. Her spleen, kidneys, pancreas—you name it—I love her right down to the very core of her mental and physical being.
And thanks to four years of therapy, I am connected to her in a way that I wasn’t for most of her life.
Oh sure, I fed her, clothed her, and occasionally brushed her hair when she would let me, but for most of her life I was a self-absorbed baby who was guided by a head full of ideas and beliefs, none of which had much to do with reality or what she actually needed.
That may sound like I’m being hard on myself. I’m not. In fact, my therapist will tell you that statement doesn’t go far enough. She would say it’s a good start. Maybe.
I posted a ton of shots to Instagram using the #zielskecollegeroadtrip hashtag. One person commented, “You are a good mom.”
Pictures on Instagram don’t always tell true stories. We live in a world that encourages us—Hell, it rewards us—to show ourselves in the best possible light.
The truth is that I am better now than I was. But I was previously pretty horrible.
Yes, she is a remarkable young woman but you have to understand she arrived here with some real goods from the get go. And, she had Dan. Yes, I did give her some things along the way. But not enough.
Today I am working to give her real acknowledgement. Today I am working to model responsible, grown up behaviors. Today I am working to overcome a lifetime of seeing one perspective only—mine. Today I am making up for wasted years as a big, hot, neurotic mess.
That’s one of the things that really hurts today: the regret of wasted time.
The regret of not reaching my potential as her mother.
Even this post, which has the title that makes you think it’s all about her ends up actually being all about me.
Story of my life.
A story I’m working to change.
I am so grateful for her grace and receptivity.
I am so grateful that I didn’t manage to blow this relationship completely.
It’s one thing to cling to that idea, an idea that the internet loves, and that is the idea of I am enough. But when you find out that you actually aren’t in the ways the matter the very most, change is not only possible, it is required.
I am done using that as an excuse for bad behavior.
I can do better is not laced with self-judgment. It is simply the truth.
I can. And I will.
And I am.