college

Home from Minnesota…

My daughter and I left Texas for Minnesota at 6am on Wednesday. After a brief layover at Midway (Chicago dogs for late breakfast for the win!), we arrived at the Minneapolis airport around 1pm. We lugged all the suitcases to the rental car kiosks and grabbed our rental car and hit the road. St. Peter is about an hour drive from the airport, but it was lovely… all fields and farms and silos. When we finally arrived in St. Peter, the picturesqueness seems to only continue. The town is beautiful. There are brick buildings from one end of Main Street to the other and all the little homes looked so cute. Seriously, the entire time we were there, I never saw a house in that town that was in any state of disrepair.
We got checked into our hotel and then headed out for a bite to eat. We ended up eating at the same restaurant three times while I was there because the food was so good. The restaurant was Patrick’s on 3rd. I think I ate my weight in fried cheese curds. Friday was Move In Day so we spend Wednesday and Thursday either toodling around St. Peter exploring the shops and restaurants or running pre-dorm errands. Having those days to just chill out with my daughter was super nice. We didn’t have any solid plans so we just got to spend time together and if we felt like driving somewhere, we jumped in the car and took off. If we wanted to walk around town and poke our heads into little stores, we did. But mostly, we wanted to explore the school campus which we did a lot of.
Friday morning, we got up and loaded all of the bags back into the car. We made the short drive from the hotel to the college campus and were greeted with a wall of enthusiastic college students. They were all dressed in yellow t-shirts and were waiting at each of the college entrances. They yelled things like “welcome home!” and “we’re so glad you’re here” and chanted a variety of the school’s cheers. Now, I don’t know if they do this at all colleges, but if they don’t – they should. It is so much fun to pull into your new school and experience this wave of positive energy. My throat tightened up as we drove past them all. A few minutes later we were parked in front of the dorm unloading suitcases into the grass for the football players to take upstairs. My daughter’s room was on the fifth floor so I was pretty pleased that we had help.
Once all of her stuff was in the dorm, we got busy unpacking and setting it all up. This is really the only part of the trip where I felt rushed. I knew the clock was ticking and I had a limited amount of time before I had to head back to the airport. I wanted to make sure we got everything done. We were unpacked in no time and took the opportunity to head out to Patrick’s for one last lunch. We stopped and grabbed a few things we hadn’t know she would need before running back to the campus. We headed over to the admissions office and got her ID and signed a few pieces of paperwork and then we were done. She laughed at me as I loaded an entire walmart bag with pinecones to bring home. Our goodbye was fast and thankfully tear free. She has never been a cryer and I am but I think this goes to show just how confident I am in the choice we made for her to go to school there. I am not afraid or even worried leaving her there. Similar to having left Connecticut a few months ago, I flew home knowing both of these girls are ok. I can worry that they won’t eat healthy or that they’ll be late or that they won’t change their socks or brush their teeth enough, but as far as just being all right? I know they will be all right. And as I drove out of St. Peter towards Minneapolis, I just felt so proud. This kid has worked so hard to get to exactly where she is and I know she is going to be so happy over the next four years as she lives there and starts her life and gets her degree.

almost time…

This past weekend, my daughter and I packed all of the stuff she is taking to college and then we laid down on her bed together and created an amazon wish list for all of the random stuff she’d love to receive in the mail while she is there. Washi tape, post it notes, index cards, relatively healthy snacks, mint tea… As we were working on that, The GingerBeard Man brought us a tray of chips and queso he had made. We snacked and clicked “add to list” and chatted about our upcoming trip to Minnesota. A few hours later, we were done and I went off to do my normal Sunday chores. I packed lunchboxes and did laundry and mopped the floors. It was just a normal weekend.
Yesterday I woke up riddled with anxiety. I couldn’t take enough deep breaths. I just walked around work taking deep breath after deep breath, trying to calm my nerves. Trying to figure out why they were buzzing so much. I hadn’t slept well the night before and I was so distracted that morning making breakfast and packing lunches for the little girls that one of them asked me if I was ok. In response to a message from The GingerBeard Man asking how my day was going, I admitted that I felt really anxious and I wasn’t sure why. He responded with “your daughter is moving away in two days.”
Today I woke up with some different feelings. I am still super anxious, but I am also so very emotional. Thinking about anything makes tears sting my eyes. I’ve had a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat since I opened my eyes this morning. Today, I can see more clearly how much moving my daughter away to college is affecting me. I can tell that any thought process about her in any way is making me teary eyed.
It doesn’t change the fact that I am so happy for her and even more proud of her. But my very logical thought processes about all of this are failing to convince my heart today. Today all I can seem to do is worry about her and think about how much I will miss her.

Just a few more days…

On August 31st, I will be taking my second oldest daughter to Minnesota. Our flight leaves bright and early Wednesday morning.
I think she has settled into a kind of quiet and contemplative mood about it. Weeks ago, it was all boisterous excitement and energy, but the last few days have been more of a nesting type attitude, lots of doing laundry and making lists of things to remember to pack or do.
I had a lengthy chat with a coworker the other day, she also has children who are grown and out on their own, and we talked about how it’s heart wrenching but also, how right it is. Do I love the idea of my kids moving thousands of miles away and starting their lives on their own? No. Ha! But also, yes. Yes, I want brave children who face the world of adulthood and newness and embrace the challenges and fears. I want children who jump out of the nest and fly. I want children who are not tethered to me because they are leading their own lives. I am so glad that I was able to raise these types of children. I’m so proud of these girls.
So on September the second, when I drop my rental car off and wheel the empty suitcases into the airport so I can fly home, my heart will break knowing I am leaving yet another child behind and alone, but it will also be so very full of joy that she is starting off her adult life with every ounce of bravery I had wished for her for the last eighteen years.

My last Mother’s Day

You know, sometimes you get super excited about a certain day… like your birthday or Mother’s Day and then when the days happens and it’s just another day, you get all bummed out? That used to happen to me a lot. It’s like the curse of being a single mom. Unless someone else steps in and helps your kids do some secret planning or shopping, then they really can’t do more than just be sweethearts. And that is enough of course, but sometimes they forget to be sweethearts altogether and you spend your Mother’s Day cleaning and doing laundry and trying not to kill them and at the end of it, you’re bummed because it was supposed to be a good day.
I’ve had those Mother’s days.. and I’ve had the ones where someone would step in and help the kids out and I would be surprised (or not, because – you know – kids aren’t all that sly, lol)… I’d come home to some cute little flower bouquet and some cards with handprints that were made in school or have the mornings where the kids brought me a practically inedible breakfast in bed. And of course it wasn’t the breakfast that you’d treasure, it was messy haired and beaming with pride little girls standing there while you ate it. Because those girls love you and they are glad you are their mother.
This year was different. I am so freaking hyper aware of all the time I am spending with my daughters right now. Having all four of my girls home on Sunday was more than enough to make everything right with my soul. Seeing their little sleeping faces and just being able to chat and hang out with them was so great. This is the last year that I know I will for sure have all of my daughters under one roof on Mother’s day. Gah. My heart.
I knew that the two older girls were up to something and when I woke up Sunday morning and crept out of my room for coffee, the sign in the photo was hanging in my kitchen. It is so perfect. I love it more than just about anything they’ve ever given me. For both the thought that went into it as well as what it symbolizes. These two are leaving me in the next few months and while I hope someday all of my girls will be close enough to me that we can spend weekends together like we did this weekend, I know it is unlikely. It is more likely that I will see them on Christmas and through facebook and we will catch up on phone calls and through photos. It brings my tears right to the surface.
I know I keep saying it. This is what is supposed to happen. I am so proud of these girls that they are courageously facing the new chapter in their lives. They are excited and happy and I’ve done my job. They are adults. They are leaving and that is exactly what is supposed to happen. They don’t need me and I am so grateful for that, but it is also kicking my ass a little. The closer we get to the end of June, when my oldest daughter and I make the trek to Connecticut, the more I feel my chest tighten at the thought. I’m going to miss her so much. I’m going to miss them both so much more than I even have words to express.

Minnesota bound…

Well she chose Minnesota.
I’m not surprised.
I paid the enrollment deposit this week and she is officially moving in August.
I’m so excited for her and for this adventure she is about to embark upon. Just as I am excited for my oldest daughter who is headed to Connecticut in June… but man, it’s so hard to think about them being gone.

I had my first daughter when I was sixteen, and my second daughter when I was eighteen. We all kind of grew up together. They made me into a mom, but also into an adult. They taught me pretty much everything that I know. For the last twenty years, my life has revolved around those two girls and the idea that they are now moving off to start lives without me is so perfectly wonderful and heartbreaking all at the same time.

My two younger girls will still be home for another four and seven years and that is wonderful but somehow doesn’t actually relieve any of the pressure on my heart. So for now, I am trying to enjoy the time before they leave. I’m trying to immerse myself in hanging out with them and spending as much time with them as I can.

This past weekend, I had planned to have the afternoon to myself. The GingerBeard Man had went off to hang out with a friend and all of the girls were busy with their own plans. I had spent the morning cleaning and doing laundry. Finished with my chores, I took a quick shower and started contemplating what I was going to do with myself for the rest of the afternoon. A chick flick? A nap? A walk?
But as I stepped out of the shower, I heard my dogs start barking. The bark turned from DANGER to EXCITEMENT and so I knew someone the dogs knew had arrived. A few minutes later, my oldest daughter walked in and asked me to make her pancakes.
She’d driven an hour from her apartment to my house, just for pancakes.
My initial reaction, and I think most moms would have this, was to be bummed that my free time had just disappeared. However, after a moment, I realized this could be the last time I get to make her pancakes. Or breakfast for that matter. And so, with a lump in my throat, I took down the pancake mix and turned on the stove.

Minnesota…

We met with the college representative for the school in Minnesota and they are absolutely everything that my daughter is looking for in her college. They are small and in a small town. My daughter grew up in a small town and one of the things she really didn’t want to do was go to college in a huge city somewhere. They have quiz bowl teams and super small class sizes… And basically every question that she asked, the lady answered in a way that made my daughter so excited and happy that she had applied to this random school 1,300 miles away from home. And while we are still waiting for two other financial aid offers from Texas schools, I feel pretty confident that she has found her college.

That said, she and I will be leaving the last week of August to make the drive from south central Texas to Minnesota. And we will be making that trip just two months after my oldest daughter and I make the drive to Connecticut.

MY BABIES ARE LEAVING ME.

I think it is maybe easier that they are both going to far away places at the same time. And all of my concerns about them being so far away are just normal concerns that any parent has when their kid is moving. I’m not worried about their safety more than I would be if they were moving an hour away – actually I’m most concerned about their weather. Like super concerned. I have all kinds of winter boots and coats in my Amazon basket because I have been researching which ones are best like crazy. I don’t want my girls to freeze to death. Neither of them has ever lived anywhere where it snows and now my oldest will have to learn to live AND drive in Connecticut. Luckily, we aren’t taking a vehicle to Minnesota – she is going to have a bike and rely heavily on public transportation.

Any tips or tricks about living in the Froze North? City Chick?

Hello World!

April 10, 2016
1:34am

While I happened to be up wasting some time while watching old reruns of The x-Files, I realized that I had my favorite pen with me. So I figured what the heck? Might as well do this thing…
HELLO World! Or really HELLO anyone who happens to come across this blog floating around on The Internet. My name is The Legit Chick. Anywho, I am a 19 year old college student, cat lover, and Navy wife…
I know what you’re thinking – “OMG she’s WAY too young to be married, I mean look she used ‘omg’ in her blog post, blah blah blah, not mature or responsible BLAH.” Well just hold your pretty little horses, and let me fill you in on my life story real quick. Hah. Quick. As if you can tell a life story quickly.
Well first me, then my other half.
So I am 19, fresh out of high school, just jumping into college. I have it in my head that teaching is the thing for me. Kids. I love kids. I love hearing their stories, helping them to learn, and being there to listen. It’s just what I hope to do.
I currently live in a musty old apartment like all young broke people do. I have three cats that are my babies! Turd, Baby, & Monroe. I love them and their snuggly faces. Agh! (That’s an overwhelmed yell of excitement that I get whenever I think about how much I love my kitties!)
So all of that is fine and dandy, I’m just living my life like all college kids do. Until you jump back to the Navy wife part. Nineteen and married. To a Navy man no less. It has opened up this whole new world to be, but my navy man wasn’t always that to me. At first he was just My Dearest. He was one of the first people I met on the school bus on my first day of middle school. I was eleven years old, very shy and not very confident in myself. He was a thirteen year old goofy looking social butterfly. He made everyone laugh, sometimes even at his own expense but that didn’t matter – everyone loved him and so did I.
All I wanted was to have this boy notice me and want to be my friend as much I wanted to be his. But what did I have to offer? I was so shy and so quiet, not exactly the life of the party. And yet this boy noticed me. As much as he was goofy, he knew how to be sweet too. He was kind. I remember the first time he said my smile was beautiful on the bus ride home. Things weren’t always smooth sailing, we argued and occasionally hurt each other’s feelings without even knowing it. But we grew closer and became best friends who told each other everything.
For over two years we stayed side by side, always there for each other. We’d spend hours on the phone pouring our hearts out. I don’t know if you remember being thirteen years old and feeling like the world is against you, well he was there for me and I was there for him too.
On May 8th, 2010 he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was so excited! My first boyfriend and my first best friend, I was head over heels for this lanky fifteen year old boy, he was my world.
I don’t think anyone thought it was meant to last. I mean we were so young, but the months just kept on passing. There were many ups and downs because not only was our relationship growing, but so were we. We were turning from children into adults and sometimes that change hit us hard. People our age always judged us for choice to stay faithful and loyal to just one person at such a young age and it hurt us. Sometimes we felt old like we were missing out on being a teenager. How can you truly be a “teenager” and have “teenager fun” while being so tied down? Age was also hard for us. I am two years younger than my husband and it doesn’t seem like much now at nineteen and twenty-one but high school was a different story. We were picked on mercilessly. He got the worst of it. They called him a cradle robber, and he must be so lame if he can’t get someone his own age. Once on the bus, a boy making fun of us threw a binder at his head. Thirteen and fifteen; fourteen and sixteen; fifteen and seventeen; sixteen and eighteen – those were hard years and hard times. Was it really worth the trouble? The Drama? In the end, it was.
We became each other’s rock. No matter how hard or scary things got, we were there for one another. When the choice arose, we always chose each other. And two years after graduating high school, My Dearest realized that if he were ever going to get out of this town we grew up in, he would need to join the military. I begged at first for him not to leave. I couldn’t even remember a time when we were apart. But he said if we were ever going to have the life we wanted, he needed a way out and this was his best chance. So at the end of my senior year of high school, he left. It was February 1st, 2015. It was one of the hardest things I ever experienced. He was my closest friend and suddenly he was hundreds of miles away. I ached all over for days. I wrote to him every day that we couldn’t speak. I sent him fifty-two letters for fifty-two days.
After boot camp, he was shipped even further away, to Connecticut. I graduated high school, moved into my first apartment, started college, and got my first grownup job – all without him there. He started submarine school and life was empty. We got engaged when I visited him in Connecticut that summer and we were married on Christmas Day on his first visit home since joining the Navy.
This Monday, tomorrow, he goes underway for two months. And just a few weeks after he returns, I will be meeting him in our new home in Connecticut. Six years after we first started our relationship, six years – but finally me and My Dearest will have our own home together.

Wherein my second daughter considers leaving Texas…

I’ve mentioned both here and here that both of my older daughters are moving away later this year.  My oldest is headed to Connecticut where her husband has been stationed and my second oldest is heading off to college.  I assumed that since her residential college costs would be cheaper if she stayed in Texas that she would most likely choose a school that was less than 500 miles from home, meaning I’d see her pretty regularly.  I did not count on the fact that a tiny liberal arts school in Minnesota would make her one hell of an offer.  An offer she is strongly considering accepting.

We are meeting with the school’s representative on Sunday and then waiting for the rest of the financial aid packages to arrive from the four Texas colleges before she makes her final decision, but right now – she is pretty enthusiastic about this school.  She likes it’s size, she likes the teacher to student ratio, she likes the geeky competition clubs…  So far, it’s competitive as far as out of pocket costs go… within a couple grand compared to the Texas college prices we’ve received so far.

But it’s 1,264 miles away from me.  Couple that with my oldest daughter moving 1,985 miles away from me and I’m glancing at the bottle of xanax in my nightstand.   When asked about what it’s been like having my oldest move out last year when she started college, I’ve said that having her less than an hour away has made the whole process a lot easier.  Like we were slowly pulling the band-aid off.  Having both girls move to states that are no where near me is going to be a lot more like ripping it off.

Our last Easter together…

My oldest daughter is moving to Connecticut in a few months, my second oldest daughter is heading off to college this fall and my new son-in-law is going to be deployed most of next year.  So this year, we really tried to cram as much Eastery-ness into our weekend.  We dyed almost a hundred eggs, we decorated the dining room with all the pastel stuff that we could find, we cooked just about all of the recipes from the Easter section of The Pioneer Woman’s holiday cookbook and we made tie-dyed t-shirts.  My hands are like super stained.

We are all trying so hard to spend as much quality time together as possible. It’s like we can feel the bubble that has encompassed us all cracking and we know that soon it will be gone and everyone will start spreading out.  And it’s such a weird time in my parenting career.  I am not sure what the right things to do are, I want to make sure I don’t miss things or push too hard or jump in front of any incoming Mistake Trains that are headed towards the girls.  They are both young adults and deserve to experience all of the things they are meant to experience, I can’t save them all the time.

And while the first part of my parenting career is coming to an end, I have the younger two girls here with another 4 and 7 years left before they head off to college and some times I feel like I spent all of my good momming on the older two and now I’m on cruise control with the younger ones.  Also, I don’t know if it was because I was so much younger, but I feel like I am much closer to the older two.  I feel like they are more open with me and that we have more of a friendship than a child and parent relationship.  With the little girls, I very much feel like a mom and I feel like I have to really try hard to get them to be open with me.  I often think this is how most mothers feel all the time.

My firstborn…

My oldest daughter has been living on her own for almost a full year now.  In that year she learned how to drive in the city, started college, learned to pay bills, got her first job, decided she hated having roommates, got married, switched jobs, bought a newish car and made the decision to move to be with her husband where ever he got stationed.  Which as it turns out is Connecticut.

It’s strange how much she has changed in that time.  Sure, a lot of who she has always been is there, a lot of who she was as a teenager is still there.  But the little changes that are the adult side of her are the ones I enjoy seeing.  I didn’t raise a daughter who is afraid to ask for help, quite the contrary really – she calls me almost daily and we discuss everything from switching jobs to grocery shopping to budgeting – but she is also quite capable of making a decision and sticking to her guns.  Even if I don’t agree with her.

One of the cooler aspects of having an adult daughter is how she gave me a son.  As a mother of four daughters, I’ve rarely had any boys around… just the occasional neighbor kid and more recently, a nephew.  I didn’t even get married until a couple of years ago, so really it’s just been an estrogenfest for the majority of the last twenty years.  I’ve toyed with the idea of adopting a little boy, but decided I was meant to mother the females and I’m gonna stick to what I know.  The thing about my oldest is that she always knew she wanted to be married and have a family.  When she had her first little boyfriend at thirteen and she asked him at what age did he think he would get married and he responded with “I have no idea, I’m just a kid” she realized she was different.  She’s never really been interested in just being a kid.  She wants to be a mom and a wife.  And that’s what she’s always wanted.  Luckily for her, the next boy that she asked that question didn’t react quite the same way and five years later, they said their I Do’s.

A lot of people think they are too young to get married.  It’s a double edged sword, being in love at a young age.  Everyone thinks you’re too young to get married but they also think you shouldn’t be living together (at least down here in South Texas)… And yeah, 19 and 21 are young ages for such a commitment, but those two have been in a relationship longer than any I’ve ever been in.  They are best friends and they make all of their decisions together. Sometimes they make mistakes that kids make and hopefully they learn from them, but I honestly could see them celebrating a 50 year anniversary some day because they are building their relationship to last.

In just a few months, she and I will load up her new little Escape with their three cats and a bunch of luggage and we will make the two thousand mile drive to Connecticut where I will leave her to start the next four years of her life.  It’s gonna break my heart but I know that they will take care of each other.