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Milestones and imagination - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Milestones and imagination [Jun. 15th, 2010|09:32 am]
Zoethe
My baby graduated from high school this weekend. Ferrett and I went up to Massachusetts to celebrate this milestone with her and had a great time with both her and her sister. After graduation Amy dragged us all over the field squeeing in delight as she hugged friends and introducing us to kids we've known for years via her stories and occasional phone conversations and Facebook comments. She skipped out on graduation parties to hang out with us, and we had a wonderful and happy time.

And yet I am feeling very melancholy. The day before we got there, she was in a car accident that 5 seniors walked away from unharmed but that a shift of the trajectory of the car just a few feet in either direction would probably have resulted in us all being there for their funerals instead of their graduations. That's shaken me, how even for a kid who is pretty damned cautious and very responsible there is the "other idiots" factor that I can't protect her from. Driving the 10 hours home yesterday the future that did not happen replayed time and again in my mind like an earworm.

I know I should focus on being grateful that luck was with them. I think, though, that my "empty nest syndrome" has latched onto that incident as a way of expressing itself. Even though I have not been the residential parent in a decade, and even though she is still going to be in college for years and visiting us at about the same frequency she does now, it's the end of something. She's beautiful and talented and grown up and wonderful, and I love seeing her so confident and happy. And the world feels too dangerous for her just now and I want to snuggle her in my arms and protect her. And I can't.

I think I didn't feel so much this way about Erin because Erin came and lived with us the summer after graduation and I was the one who took her to orientation and helped her get ready. Also, she didn't have a near-death experience on the eve of graduation. There are times when I want to snuggle Erin up, too, but they don't generally have this sense of urgency and danger.

Amy's off to orientation at her college this week. She'll be here in August for a few weeks before college. I intend to indulge in mommying the daylights out of her.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-15 11:06 pm (UTC)
It's definitely a change.
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[User Picture]From: aiela
2010-06-15 01:51 pm (UTC)
This seemed to be a bad weekend for accidents and near-misses. I am relieved to hear that Amy and her friends weren't injured, and certainly that sort of thing is scary!

And so is watching the last of your babies grow up. *hugs*

(I just realized that you are exactly the same age my mother was when I graduated high school as her youngest child. And she hadn't been the residential parent in over a decade. I wonder how that was for her? I never thought to ask, but I was fairly self-centered in those days. Too late now, unfortunately.)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-15 11:08 pm (UTC)
It's a weird place to be, but I am still delighting in her.
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[User Picture]From: crwilley
2010-06-15 02:03 pm (UTC)
My baby's not graduating for five more years, and I'm already feeling that. "Five years? That's it? No more? That's not very long..."

I'm so happy no one was hurt in the accident.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-15 11:03 pm (UTC)
It goes fast. Treasure it. And thanks.
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2010-06-15 02:38 pm (UTC)
We had a similar experience with our youngest. Several years ago, she and four others drove out to the other end of Mass. to a concert. On the way home, the driver misjudged (no drugs or drink involved) as he was going up the curving ramp to the highway. An 18 wheeler was coming down the exit ramp beside them. They went over the curb and were struck. They were all buckled, they got bruises and scrapes and were very shook up, the car was totaled, but they were essentially safe, Thank God!!

Now she and her new husband (also a passenger that night) are on their "honeymoon road trip", leaving Mass. several weeks ago, and as of yesterday's e-mail, in Oklahoma. I'm doing a lot of praying!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-15 05:05 pm (UTC)
This was accepting a ride from someone she didn't know well who tried to prove his awesomeness at 110 mph. And then a semi changing lanes. She is still furious at the driver, who was ignoring their screams for him to slow down. He is off her list of friends.
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2010-06-15 11:53 pm (UTC)
I should think so!!
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[User Picture]From: heathrow
2010-06-16 02:24 am (UTC)
How terrifying! I'm so sorry they had to go through this.
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[User Picture]From: sacramentalist
2010-06-15 02:56 pm (UTC)
Aw. You love her so much.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-15 10:45 pm (UTC)
Okay, this is the first comment that made me tear up.
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[User Picture]From: cyan_blue
2010-06-15 04:54 pm (UTC)
Big hugs....
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-15 10:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: ccr1138
2010-06-15 05:39 pm (UTC)
Like Dave Barry said, in a column that still resonates with me, when you become a parent, you start wearing your heart on the outside of your body. I know exactly what you mean. Letting go is hard. They are in God's hands (as are we all), but I prefer the illusion of control TYVM.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-15 10:50 pm (UTC)
That expresses it perfectly.
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[User Picture]From: phillipalden
2010-06-15 06:05 pm (UTC)
I'm glad the kids are okay. That would freak me out.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-15 10:52 pm (UTC)
I feel very fortunate as a parent to have written this entry instead of the alternative.
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[User Picture]From: valarltd
2010-06-15 07:14 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on launching her. And breathe about the accident. Sometimes all you can do is just breathe.

My daughter had three car accidents this spring before graduation and walked away from all of them. My mother nearly died in one early in her senior year (2 of the other 3 kids did die and the last spent the rest of his life ina wheelchair)

Amy walked away. So did all the rest. There's something else they're supposed to do yet, all of them.

Also? the driving kid needs Mother Trucker to take him aside and explain WHY not to play tag with us.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-15 10:58 pm (UTC)
Amy is of the opinion that the kid is too stupid to learn and simply will not allow herself to ever be in the situation where she has to rely on him for transportation ever again.

Whereas her big sister wanted his address so she could go beat the crap out of him. Of course she didn't, but she was sorely tempted.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-16 01:46 am (UTC)
Thanks, dear.
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[User Picture]From: cosmicbandit
2010-06-16 02:50 am (UTC)
My 17 year old daughter is going to start driving classes the end of this month. I'm terrified. She's smart and level-headed but can be pretty spacey sometimes. I'm concerned about inexperience and other crazy drivers.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-16 01:06 pm (UTC)
Alas, they have to learn at some point, but it is really scary.
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[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2010-06-16 02:26 pm (UTC)
That's shaken me, how even for a kid who is pretty damned cautious and very responsible there is the "other idiots" factor that I can't protect her from.

Even though I'm not a parent, I'm cursed with the knowledge of a lot of the horrible stuff that can happen to you, unlike when I was younger. So I can imagine at least somewhat the worry that must go through the minds of people who are parents. There was this little asshole who went to my old high school. He had four other students in his jeep when he decided to race a train. He was the only person who survived and he claimed he didn't remember anything. Uh huh. The father of one of dead students was a couch at his high school, who said he wouldn't couch if the kid tried to join the track team. The kid had the balls to try to make an issue of this instead of just keeping his head down. So that man's daughter died because she had the rotten luck to have taken a ride home with a teenage punk. No wonder even the parents of responsible kids stay up worrying about their babies.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-16 04:16 pm (UTC)
It was also triggering to me because one of my best friends in high school, a really good and responsible kid, got a ride with a jerk who wouldn't slow down despite Mike screaming at him. They flew off the road and into a Douglas fir. The driver and the kids in the back walked away. Mike ended up with the engine block in his chest and died the next morning. So remembering how that was and extrapolating it to my beautiful daughter? Still shakes me.
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[User Picture]From: fitfool
2010-06-17 04:50 am (UTC)
It's hard that as hard as we try, there are still things completely outside our control. Congratulations on her graduation!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-06-17 11:33 am (UTC)
Thanks!
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