saying goodbyes & other laughing moments

my sweet abby girl is almost to texas by now.
she & her mama, one of my dearest friends,
packed up yesterday, heading to Texas Christian University.

if you’ve read my blog over the last few years
you’ve heard me share about abby.
i truly love this child as if she were my own.

i’m so excited for her to be heading out, bravely, to another state
all on her own!
abby girl, i’m praying for you.
while i’ll miss you terribly, i look forward to seeing what all this next year 
will become for you!
i know you will do great things!!


it’s truly a strange emotion when happiness and sadness are all mixed up together.
when you are genuinely happy for another person,
yet the thing you’re so happy about for them
is actually something so tender, dare i say sad, for you.

at the risk of sounding ridiculously over dramatic
this time last year, when we took savannah to college…
that was without a doubt the second hardest season of my life.

i used to pride myself ( ha!) in the fact that i was not a sappy teary emotional person.
yeah. whatever.
those days are gone.

so that particular day,
i had pep talked myself into not crying in front of her.
we had done all we (the parents) needed to do in her dorm room
& it was time for us to leave.
i stepped out around the corner as the emotions began to overwhelm me.
i was not going to do that.
not there.

other parents were walking by
other , non-emotional parents & i was thinking,
 “what the heck? why aren’t you a wreck too?
why are you looking at me like, oh, first timer?”
turns out,  i couldn’t suck it up.
i walked around the corner to smk’s room,
all red splotchy faced and all
& mumbled “bye sweetie”.
it was ridiculous.

i cried off & on for weeks.
weeks i tell you.
actually i cry anytime i really think about it, a year later.

now let me explain.
i know she’s happy & in a great place & technically not far away
i know this is just part of life.
my mind knows all of that.
but entering that phase, that phase that as parents we truly begin preparing for
from the day they were born
was finally here.
the leaving phase.
& that part, my heart still has trouble with
probably always will.

as  mamas we carry our babies who are completely dependent upon us for 40 weeks.
once we give birth & the cord is cut
we, in small tiny, yet monumental ways
prepare them for their independence, for their independence from us.

we wean them from breast to bottle
we potty train them & cheer when they can do it all by themselves.
we teach them to walk & do it all by themselves
we cheer as they cross each developmental milestone
we tell them they’ll be just fine at school. all day. by themselves.
we continue to prepare them & encourage them in all they do.

& then we wake up one late summer day
& the car in the driveway is all packed up.
their bedroom is mighty empty.
they have their new, own address.
& it’s time to go.
we cheer them on & tell them how proud we are of them
& they can do it.
all by themselves.
& you know what the funny thing is?

they already know this.
after all,
it’s what we’ve been preparing them for all along…

truvy ( in Steel Magnolias) said,
“Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”
joy & sadness all mixed together….
i might just have to agree

(abby’s best friend is heading to UGA
& currently going through rush.
crossing my fingers she pledges AXO with savannah!)

god speed sweet abby!!
i love you!

August 10, 2012 - 12:15 pm

Lindsey - Well I am a wreck…an absolute wreck! Sitting in the basement of the sorority house, much like I was last year when I realized for the first time the connection your family has with the Pauls that I love so dearly. I have been waiting on pins and needles for this post…and it was even better than I imagined it would be!

I cried like a baby when I said goodbye to Libby. I know she and Abby are going to have the best time together at TCU though…truly a roomie match made in heaven! As much as Emily and I like to give ourselves credit for it, probably wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for you.

Praying for all those mommas and kiddos out there this week…August sure is tough on the emotions!

August 10, 2012 - 12:41 pm

Anonymous - I know how you feel about the crying when leaving your daughter. Sometimes I still cry when I think about the day I left my daughter at Texas A&M her freshman year and she will be a senior this year. You are so rightg about the emotions of joy and sadness together. Love your blog, I can relate so much to the posts you write. True emotions. Take care.

August 10, 2012 - 12:42 pm

Debby - No need to explain how this feels. I always try to warn my friends that are about to take their first child off to college. No need to tell them the second time. It is heart breaking and for all the reasons you have said. You finally are able to talk about them being gone and POOF they are home for a visit. It's an exciting time but such a hard time for parents. (((((HUGS))))

August 10, 2012 - 12:55 pm

Kelli @ Life at 818 - If you has seen my facebook status last night then I almost feel like you were writing this for me. and I'm sitting here at work starting to puddle up again! haha! It's for sure a toughy – and he's only up in Athens.

August 10, 2012 - 1:08 pm

Paige - beautiful post!! Oh so very true. Some days I'm shocked by the fact that my two married kids don't live at home anymore:)

August 10, 2012 - 1:11 pm

my2twins - Well, you've done it again.
Our house has this organized mess of college gear as we prepare to send off our youngest twins. We're up north so we still have a couple of weeks, and, I think I'm ready for this, but I then come home to an empty house, yikes! I'm just not sure I'm ready for that. I'm used to noise, chaos and lots of in and out activity. We prepare them, but don't always prepare ourselves.

August 10, 2012 - 1:18 pm

3 Peanuts - What a beautifully written post Paige. As you know, I am not there yet but many of my friends are and I know I need to really be there for them. One of my best friends, Laura takes her first daughter (who I am super close to also) next week to Baylor. We are prepared to help her through those first weeks. Any specific suggestions on what we can do?


And best wishes to Abby. I am sure she will LOVE TCU!!!

August 10, 2012 - 1:19 pm

DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family - Oh how I remember that same drive home. Empty Nest Syndrome is a challenge, particularly when you throw Menopause in the equation. I have to laugh…Mom's weekends at the Pi Phi's slowed down the process a bit! (Thank you, God and a house filled with estrogen on hyper drive!) Truvy hit the nail on the head…I LOVE that quote from the movie.

What beautiful and fabulous achievers you, your husband (May God bless is soul), and your friends have raised.

Your {Simple Thoughts} always warm my heart.

August 10, 2012 - 1:24 pm

Anonymous - I love your posts…they always touch my heart

August 10, 2012 - 1:58 pm

susan - Dear Paige, Thank you for putting my exact feelings at this very moment into words for me…it helps somehow. Knowing that I'm not alone in these feelings. Jake is moving into his dorm at Auburn this weekend and I'm preparing myself to put on my “game face” as we leave him…I don't want to make a scene or make him feel bad but I'll be leaving a huge piece of my heart on that campus (14 hours away). I'm beyond thrilled for this new chapter for HIM. But not quite ready to let go (for ME). Are we ever?

August 10, 2012 - 2:30 pm

teresa sheeley - Now looking back, sending them off to college seemed like a walk in the park, because you knew they would be coming back for all their breaks and the whole summer. But when that's over they leave and have a real life address and jobs and may only get to come home for Christmas, if the jobs allow. It's the hardest thing ever, but as moms we do what we do because we have to. Ugh…

August 10, 2012 - 3:40 pm

Shannon - Here I am trying not to cry daily that I am sending my big girl off to Kindergarten next Wednesday wondering how I'm gonna get through 5 mornings a week without my sweet girl and you write about them growing up and leaving for College!! 😉 It is so true though, we prepare them in everything we do to become independent and ready for this big world and we hope they become great and make as much as a difference as they can. Great post Paige, even if it did make me tear up this morning. Great quote too 🙂

August 10, 2012 - 4:16 pm

Tiffany - Oh Paige if I adequate words to agree with you I would type them – words aren't coming so easily right now — but what I will try and convey is that YES I agree with you and trust me, I will be a blubbering mess when I send both of my kids to college. Its just so darn bitter sweet – them growing up; not needing us in the same ways as before – but honestly I think there is a part of us that always needs our mommas – it just changes!

big hug to you!

August 10, 2012 - 7:45 pm

Mindy - Love this Paige! You beautifully expressed exactly how I feel. I've said good-bye to one or two of my children each August for five years now and I still get an ache deep in my chest days before they leave. Tears just under the surface for days after. Today David is in his vehicle pulling a trailer across three states to move our firstborn to grad school. Oh my…so excited for him and yet so very heartsick! Mindy

August 11, 2012 - 7:12 am

Art and Sand - You brought back memories. It has be 19 years since we took our first to college and he is now a college professor, but I can vividly recall the emotions we went through. We had a 6 hour drive home and neither my husband or I spoke the entire drive. We both had a movie of our time with him playing in our minds as we drove. I was a basket case for at least a month if anyone asked about him. On the second child, 6 years later, we thought we were going sail through it. We made it to the parking lot before we broke down in tears. Our son is visiting right now and we are blessed to have a wonderful relationship with both of our children just like I know you have with yours. I don't know how you survive with 2 teens and a tween in the house. But we all make it. God bless.

August 11, 2012 - 11:34 am

Nikki - My baby girl is 4 months old and I am already thinking about that day! This post made me ball my eyes out! You are an amazing mom and it seems like your kids love being at home with you!

August 11, 2012 - 10:00 pm

Heather Littleton Owens - Such a beautiful post that I will need to look back on next year as I take my sweet girl to college for the first time! Thank you Paige!

August 11, 2012 - 10:28 pm

katie purcell - Love this post Paige.
I know you love her….it is possible to love an “adopted” daughter like your own…I know this for a fact.
Love you and miss you.

August 12, 2012 - 1:35 am

Between You and Me - Abby truly is a beautiful girl…and I absolutely love that picture of you with her toward the end…hope you know how beautiful you are, Paige…inside and out.

prayers of blessing for Abby as she heads out to start the next chapter!!!

August 13, 2012 - 3:14 pm

Alecia - So sweet!

September 23, 2012 - 4:57 pm

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