I have had a slew of emotions running through me over the last week. I flew to California with my daughter, three giant bags of clothes and shoes, my little sister and a bit of sadness. Ella, my daughter, is starting her first year of college. She is my second born child and only daughter so I have been through this before but each child is different as are my relationships with them. My son, who worships the ground I walk on, is in his Senior year of college, spending it on a cruise ship/ university , traveling all semester. His first three years of college were also spent in California at Chapman University, where Ella is now, so he was far away then as well. We would skype often spending hours doing so. I missed him like crazy. I will mostly be e-mailing him while he is away because he will have very little access to the internet. Ella and I have had a great last year of her high school career together. We started out rough but had a long conversation after a big fight. We both decided to try harder to get along since it was her last year home. I really appreciated her agreeing to try with me. We did well and had an awesome time together. She is my jokester and we often sit around imitating Saturday Night Live characters, dancing to new music or checking out each others outfits. She is a great athlete so we spent many evenings at the lacrosse field and she will continue to play in college. I won’t see those games, sadly, being so far away. So there is my story.
I could wallow in that for ever!
But here is my practice. I am sitting with the sadness, feeling it all. I have been tired, quiet and aware of all that I am feeling. While in California helping her move in, I noticed I was calm, happy for Ella, protective of her dorm space, and observant of all the kids around her. I knew all this because I paid attention to myself and noticed. When I do this it really makes my experience more full and awake. It keeps it from being a big blur. Instead of getting all worked up about moving in and all the chaos around that, we simply arrived and moved with the flow. I noticed too that Ella was calm. It all went very smoothly. I will remember that! If I had been locked in to sadness vs. being aware of all the waves of emotions and feelings, than I would not have enjoyed the process. So yes, some sadness was there, but so were many other emotions and by paying attention to them I was not as a whole, SAD.
So I try to BE with my emotions vs. embodying them. I say to myself, “so this is sadness,” VS “I AM Sad.” I know it feels empty and makes me tired. It will pass and come and go and I am present for it. I always learn from paying attention. I learn what brings me the most joy, I learn what makes me sad and I learn where it all lands in my body. I know it is not permanent and that this is part of change so I sit with this feeling, let it move through me and then move on when the next emotion arises.
OH here comes one now! The house is cleaner! Yippeeee!!!!
Here’s to all the parents dropping kids off at school. You have done a great job!