Here you go

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life54 Comments
Today’s the day. We leave to take our girlie to college.

As surely as she was ready for preschool, she’s ready for university life. At least we think she is. We definitely hope she is.

Did I ever tell you what happened on her first day of preschool? We headed down to the bus stop, our little family of four, Coley in a stroller and Aidan confidently marching down the sidewalk, decked out in pink, swinging her Barbie lunchbox and marching fearlessly into the direction of her future.

All was going swimmingly. Aidan chatted with some other kids at the bus stop but for the life of me, I can’t recall what she was talking about. I wish I had paid more attention. God, how I wish that I had.

Then after a few minutes of being appropriately late, there it was, the big yellow bus. It rounded the corner, came to a halt and Aidan climbed on. As we prepared to wave goodbye she ran back out of the bus, with a panicked look on her face and shouted: “MOM! THERE ARE NO SEATBELTS ON THIS BUS!”

That’s so our girl. She’s wasn’t worried about missing her Mom and Dad. She was concerned with the rules.

Baby girl, I hope you’re still not too worried about missing us. But also, don’t be too focused on the rules.

Life doesn’t offer a connect the dots to happiness. Keep your heart and mind open to what comes. Don’t be guided by ideas about what our society tells you your life should be.

Just go, soak it in, see what is true and live your amazing life.

We are going to be amazed by you, Aidan Isabella. But this should come as no surprise.

We always have been.

Here you go.


Cathy ZielskeHere you go

54 Comments on “Here you go”

  1. #1

    Hi Cathy, I was just thinking about you and Aidan and you popped up in my reader! I’m thinking of you both today.
    And as for scary change, my nephew started as a high school senior yesterday in a school of over 4000 in Texas, having moved over the summer from a senior school of around 500 in a small town in Scotland.

  2. #3
    Theresa Grdina

    Just hang in there…it’s going to be tough but you will be so happy in the end!! Good luck to you all today.

  3. #4

    Don’t we all wish we’d paid more attention then? But you are now. And you really are in the moment. Breathe. 🙂 best of luck to Aidan.

  4. #7

    This is what we “mama” for…to launch them out into the world. I lived through my first go ’round last fall; so will you. Give a little extra attention to your boy; he will probably need it and yet never ask for it.

  5. #8

    Gah! Between you and Kayla Aimee, I’m constantly crying at work these past couple of weeks! Must reserve blog reading for home or lunch break! 🙂

  6. #10

    Kathy, I’ve launched two girlies of my own. Both are now successful in the medical field. One is a doctor of physical therapy and the other is a registered nurse. Very soon you will be consoling other mamas who are launching their first. How fun it will be to tell them what Aidan is it then! Journalist? Attorney? Senator? Owner of the next big online start-up? Mom? Aidan’s journey will be fabulous no matter where she ends up!

  7. #11

    Your children will have so many special words and thoughts from you, and that is beautiful! Something they will always treasure. My daughter has only just started school this year, and my son started preschool, and already I wonder where the time has gone. We really do have to treasure each day, and your posts reinforce that. Love your blog and your work!! Best wishes to you and your family, from Australia.

  8. #12

    Sorry, Cathy. My iPhone’s voice recognition thinks your name starts with “K.” Silly phone!

  9. #13
    emily (justem)

    This totally made me cry while eating my breakfast. My daughter is going to Kindergarten next week, and I’m sure it will seem like tomorrow that she, too, is heading off to college. I remember going to my first day of class at UW and calling my mom crying because it was SO big, and I got lost. But, it ended up being some of the best years of my life. 😉

    I know we don’t know each other, and I’m totally going to sound like a crazy stalker, but I do live in the Madison area, and if she ever needs anything or has an emergency, I would totally be willing to help out! Good luck today! 🙂

  10. #15

    Thanks for the morning cry….I needed a good emotional flushing. HUGS for all of you as you embark on this next chapter! Cannot wait to read about her story as it unfolds.

  11. #16

    I just love this. I even quoted you in my journal as I collect words of wisdom for my daughter who is entering her senior year in high school. I feel your pain and joy and pride and am reminded of the quote that says ‘having children is like wearing your heart on the outside of your body’ – that feeling never changes no matter how little or grown up they are. Thinking of you during this transition and knowing (even though it’s hard as hell) that you will both rock this!

  12. #18
    Amy J.

    She sounds like my oldest…our rule follower and little mother.

    God bless her (and you guys) and good luck! Enjoy it all Aidan…even the rough and tough stuff. THIS is what makes you grow and become who you are destined to be!

  13. #19
    Kim Woods

    Oh gosh you made me cry! I love your advice at the end, it is such a balance between hoping they do the right thing and the things they love or will discover. Soak up these moments, they are so big!

  14. #20

    My heart is with you both today. I remember how excited and scared I was to be heading off to college (8 hours from home). You’ve BOTH got this.

  15. #21

    I love all these posts about Aidan–exciting and emotional. I keep thinking about my oldest son who is a junior…this day will come and I will be a mess.

  16. #22
    Debbie McIntyre

    Great words. But I knew they would be which is why I had to read it, even though I knew I would be left with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat. We’ve all watched her grow up. She has that great look in her eyes that tells us she’s ready and I have no doubt she’ll amaze us all.
    Warm thoughts and a big hug to you. It’s as much of a change for you as it is for Aidan.
    Here you go. Bring tissues and don’t forget to breathe. xo

  17. #26

    Oh Cathy, I’m reading all your posts about Aidan going to Uni with a lump in my throat as I know this time next year it could be me. The thought of my daughter not being in the house each day makes me realise how much I’ll miss her, so I’ll be reading your future posts with interest in the hope that you’ll prepare me for what’s ahead. Sending hugs to you and wishing Aidan the best possible experience at Uni.

  18. #27

    You don’t even know me, but I have a daughter Aidan’s age. In fact her birthday is just a week or two after Aidan’s. I have enjoyed your posts, because I am right where you’re at. We took Jessica up to college last week. I was more physically and emotionally exhausted at the end of that day than I was the day I gave birth to the child. She started classes this week. She’s a cellist and a music major. She’s overwhelmed, and energized, terrified, and beyond excited all in the same day. She’s soaking in every ounce of this experience. I think we’re going to enjoy this part of parenting. Keep up the great posts. There aren’t as many bloggers out there in our phase of life, and I love your writing.

    1. #27.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Thanks for sharing this. I’m reading the posts today and want to respond to all of them, but we’re packing up our rented mini van for our departure. I will be reading from the road. Appreciate all of you sharing your stories with me.

  19. #28

    Following you today on instagram. Tomorrow mine starts senior year. I hate it! Time has flown by – all of a sudden! It was stretching on forever in front of me and now, it is all gone by. My friend and I were speaking the other day – we are so much more involved with our kids than our moms were with us. We never did anything much with our parents when we were teens. It was like they were happy to boot us out the door when high school was over (and those kids who didn’t go were frowned upon). I just want to stop time.

  20. #29
    Michelle t

    Beyond heartfelt. These posts have been so meaningful. Thank you for sharing. I’m acutely aware of time passing me by, and your posts have been a comfort. Wishing you all a smooth transition. You’re a strong person, you will get thru these weeks. Michelle t

  21. #31

    My daughter is starting school next week so I have been reading your posts and trying to imagine how I will handle your situation in about 13 years. I’m so happy I read your post today because I am going to do my best to “be” in the moment next Wednesday but also try and write down everything! Having you say you wish you could remember makes me even more determined to record even the little things. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  22. #32
    Heather W

    I sent my girl off to the first day of her Senior year of HS today. I was holding it together pretty well until I read your blog. Mine will be a year of “lasts” and yours a year of “firsts”. Our girls seem to be very similar so I will be watching closely to see how your year goes so I can better prepare for mine!!

  23. #33

    Thanks for being so willing to share your story. I take my daughter to college on Sunday, and I just keep telling myself that other people are doing this too. Somehow, it will be okay!

  24. #34

    Best luck with new chapter of life off to college, A!!

    Parents, you are away from facetime &/or Skype to keep in touch with your girl.

    A is your girl as always in your hearts!

  25. #35

    Hi Cathy – I just dropped my son off at college on the 16th and can so relate to the wide range of emotions you are feeling. Luckily, he is only 4.5-5 hours away. Since school is closed Monday for the holiday, he’s coming home this weekend. His last class on Friday ends at noon, he’ll be home for dinner. Having him far enough away to learn and grow on his own, but close enough to come home for the occasional long weekend is the perfect balance for us. Good luck and my thoughts are with you and your ride home 🙂

  26. #38

    Chills! This literally gave me chills! I have sent two of my kids of to college – literally one of the hardest but also one of the most rewarding mom tasks I have ever done! It is so exciting to see them ‘on their own’ enjoying life and yet still realize how much they appreciate home! You got this momma! Be proud!

  27. #39
    Lisa Russo

    Sweetie, thinking of you all today. I was talking with a friend at the gym today who just took her girl to college. They’re very close, but she seemed so fine with it. She told me that although we may not be ready, THEY are ready. And you’ll know when they are. And – key – is that this is truly what we want. We don’t want the alternative…we don’t want them to stay, we want them to fly.

    Still. Crying sitting here. Of course.

  28. #40

    This is a great post, Cathy. Reminds me to photograph things like ‘first days’ for the future.

  29. #41

    Hi Cathy, that’s such a beautiful picture of your baby girl. It looks like she will be amazing in university, thanks to you. You have taught her well.

    My baby girl is only 19 months, and reading your blog is like having a crystal ball into our own future. Thank you for the insights. I vowed to take lots of pictures of our little moments, and enjoy the sights, the sounds, and yes, even the smells. 🙂

  30. #42
    Greta Sutherland

    Remember the layout you did…one of my favorite layout titles ever: “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Turn and face the strange…ch-ch-changes”

    You will walk back into your house and face the strange. But you’ll remember how you and Dan have prepared Aiden to be a strong and independent female. And then you’ll eventually embrace the strange as the new normal that it is.

    I’ve been there. It’s fun and exciting and nerve-racking, but you’ll embrace the change and adapt…as we always must. Time will change you. 😉

    You’re wrapped in good thoughts today, Cathy. All of you are…

  31. #43

    Such a lovely story. I enjoy reading about your journey with Aidan as a senior and brace myself for six years from now. My daughter is entering middle school but I know six years will go by fast in a blink of an eye just like the last 12!

  32. #44

    Dear Cathy,

    I’ve been following you since your “CK Hall of Fame” days and I believe this is your best entry yet! It really tugged at my heartstrings! xo

  33. #48
    Stephanie Sajjadieh

    Lovely post. I, too, was weepy. This reminded of a layout I did in 2008 when my daughter was leaving for a semester abroad in Italy. We survived that and she’s now across the country, but as others have said, I believe that good parents prepare their children to be emotionally strong enough to leave. I would upload the layout which had pictures of many “firsts,” but I’ll include the journaling below:

    “As I watched you walk up the airport corridor, ready to embark on your exciting adventure in Italy, I realized almost instantly that this was the end—or beginning—of a journey that I had been preparing for since you were born. Twenty-one years ago, when I was pregnant and waiting to meet you, I recognized that my most important gift as a parent was to give you the security and independence to leave me. I believe that I was successful in that goal, but I never realized how quickly that time would come, or how empty I would feel standing there waving goodbye. But more important, I’m just so proud of the child you were and the woman you’ve become.”

    Again, Cathy, thank you for always articulating so deeply and eloquently what many of us feel. You’re a treasure.

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