It’s Day 2 of my Gap Year. 48 hours ago, my husband and I dropped our daughter off at her college dorm room. The nest is officially empty, and so it’s time for me to fly.
I’ve spent the past 9 months enjoying mom life to its fullest, setting personal plans aside to soak up the remaining time with my daughter at home, never questioning whether I was being unproductive, even though she didn’t need me much of the time. I just savored being there, and watching her become independent in so many small ways. I knew I’d have the rest of my life to be me, so for now I am giving thanks that I slowed down long enough to savor that time with her, and to reflect on how much I love her.
During the big dorm move-in, so many friends and family reached out to wish her luck, but also to check on how we were feeling, gauging our emotional barometer. I’m happy to report that the overall mood of the day was joy. Joy in anticipation, joy in uncertainty, and joy in simplifying life down to her half of a dorm room. I set her free with a few fairy lights and storage bins, knowing her life was about to be focused outside of those four walls, and her wealth was going to be measured in relationships and experiences for the next four years.
And so it goes for mom on her Gap Year. Can I spread my wings, too? Can I measure my life in relationships? Will I have the courage to reach out to new experiences? Am I bold enough to ask questions, fail, and learn? Will I take risks?
I never felt sad saying goodbye to her. How can there be sadness in growth and change? Minimalism has taught me that the present is our most precious day, and that we have everything we need in this moment. And so, even with her far from home, I know we are both right where we need to be.