I love the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. One of my favorite lines is when George Peppard is breaking up with his “lady friend”, Patricia Neal …and he says, “Can’t we handle this stylishly?”. Many times in travelling down the path of life and something difficult or uncomfortable occurs, I think of how I’m handling the situation. My mother used to say, “It’s not what happens to you in life which defines you…It’s how you handle it”. I know she didn’t make it up but I shall credit her with this for now.
I was part of an important life passage for my daughter this week and I wonder from her perspective how I handled it…well, at least the last few hours of it. We dropped her off at Indiana University this weekend. As some people are aware, there were quite a few clothing items that we brought down in 2, yes 2 cars. I’m now certain that a Big 10 school means 10 square feet of living space in the dorm. But, suffice to say, it all fit. It took effort but it fit…and we only had to bring home a few items…and not because they didn’t fit but because she didn’t like them.
I have dreamed of the day when I would have to say good-bye to Meredith. Dreaded is actually a better term. It has loomed over my head for 18 1/2 years…and the day was here. We got everything moved into her room, and the inevitable of having to leave came upon us. I was really doing well, and when my husband said we should leave, I was feeling rather confident that I would not break down. I thought for 18+ years, I’ve dreamt of making a scene in her dorm room, and I was about to make a clean getaway. What a stroke of great Irish luck!
How wrong I was… I cried. But…I did Not sob uncontrollably, which is a huge plus and as we said our goodbyes in her room, I realized I was so happy for her. She is going to a Big 10 University…and living her dream. What an amazing gift we have given her. So, did I cry? Of course…But it wasn’t uncontrollable sobbing and not altogether horrifying. Mascara wasn’t running down my face. I dont’ think I was too terribly blotchy. Plus, I had my sunglasses on, so no one was the wiser…nor was I wise to every other Mother, and many Fathers who were also wearing their sunglasses in the dorm. So, I believe I handled myself Stylishly! :) And this is the story I will tell and I’m sticking to it…Plus, Meredith has texted and skyped us, so she’s still speaking to me, so I think I handled myself well. Very well. And I think Meredith will agree, which is actually most important.
They say we give our children wings to fly away…I just didn’t realize it meant feeling like I’ve lost one of my own arms. To all my friends who have gone through this passage in life with their kids…Well done. We did it. I am on the other side, and happy to be here. And I’m still standing…and wearing high heels! :)