As I head to Raleigh to for my daughter’s college graduation, I am filled with emotion. I am so proud of her, and in awe of her accomplishments and with the speed of time passing when you look backward.

How is it over so fast? Did Covid make it feel like her college journey was shorter?  Or is this how things go? Nostalgia has officially set in as we end this chapter and look forward.

I ask myself, “Was it really that long ago that o graduated from Elon?”  Because I remember what I wore on the first day of my college journey- jeans with painted flowers on them. I met Jace Stirling when I stepped out of the car and we are still in touch, our kids have grown, and his 2 kids attend our alma matter. Already? That day  I also met 7 suite mates. 5 of whom I still travel with once a year, text every Thirsty Thursday, and consider to be among my best friends. The girls of suite 202- FOREVER!

Has really time gone that fast?

Our children, mostly daughters and a few sons, have now met each other and partied together on Sullivans Island last summer Legally. And I was the designated driver. I don’t feel this old, and certainly don’t act it. But there they were, meeting each other and saying, “Wow, our moms met when they were our age!” That is so weird.

My son, confused about his future this time last year, is now a full-fledged US Marine in San  Diego. He is officially a Man and is preparing to protect the United States of America- but I still know that there is that kid inside- the kid who was an asshole at times and who loves me the most. Cole is now officially a badass. I am proud and terrified at the same time.

So, as you wonder when to get started on the journey toward the next step in your child’s life, remember to take a minute and look back- it moves so quickly.  The college process will fly by. I cannot believe that I am boarding a plane tomorrow and that she is graduating from college. Didn’t I list walk across the stage at Elon?  I remember when my daughter Carson was born, baptized, in the elementary school talent show singing Florence and the Machine’s “The Dog Days are Over, ” the awkward middle school years, and the awesome high school graduation luncheon with her “besties” who all recently met at UGA for the Tennessee game- 16 ride-or-die friends for life.

16 young men and women who I remember being told “WALK!” by the lifeguard at the community pool, where they later lifeguarded and blew a similar whistle. I look up and they are headed to schools that most only dream to attend…and still, on every break, they gather. Now for charcuterie boards and wine instead of team dinners and pushing the limit on curfews.

Advice? Plan now, be present, and look forward but appreciate the past. This mama is gonna cry for a little bit and then cheer a lot. Again? I clearly remember the TEARS AND CHEERS coffee at Montessori school when she was 2.5 years old. “Don’t Blink” we were warned by Kenny Chesney in the early 2000s. Damn, he hit the nail on the head. “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” may actually be a book for adults, a prerequisite for life.

And when we get home next week, with a car packed to the gills, we will help her apply to grad school; a college experience overseas.  Still not sure who or how we pay for it…the next stage of adventure- it never ends. I don’t want it to. 

And no, I don’t ever want to be called granny. I guess I should start thinking of my nickname for the grandkids. It is just around the corner at this pace…