Im headed to Austin and San Antonio tomorrow. My sister just built a new home in Austin and my Mom just built a new home in San Antonio. The three of us decided that 2018 was the year of building houses. Im bringing Dude with me. And my daughter. And her friend. I can’t wait to eat real Tex Mex, drink sweet tea and see my nieces. One of the reasons we are going is to take an official college tour of UT Austin. Maddie has always loved UT. We toured it with her when she was about 9. And with my family living there I feel like she’d be ok there. Its so far away from me, though. Im very conflicted.
When I left Texas, I get the feeling part of Texas left me too. It’s no secret Im a little lefty looney for Texas. Maybe not for Austin ;)-. I never really felt like my political or religious beliefs jived. Maybe its because I spent way too much time in the BURBS. I really regret not living in the heart of the city when I was younger. Dallas is a pretty amazing city. With art and music and food and a history. And a fucking football team that everyone talks about. I have one grandmother and a brother living there now. In Dallas. Part of me feels like my history is slowly being erased. As I spend less time there, have less family there.
I am emotional about doing an official college visit. She was JUST in Kindergarten. And when those assholes that told me “time flies, enjoy every minute” and I scoffed because my kids never slept, ate dirt, climbed walls and drove me crazy….I TRULY wish Id listened. Really listened. Because time flies. It flies like you cannot imagine. It creeps and lingers and crawls and makes you want to pull your hair out. It makes you wish they’d just sleep through the night. Just eat real food. Just pee in a toilet. Just sleep in their own bed. Just get to the age where they are in school all day. Just get out of elementary school. Just get a license so you don’t have to drive them anywhere. Just. Just.
And here we are. She has one year of high school left. I know how that will go. I barely see her as it is. She is ALWAYS at cheer practice. There will be football season, competitions, golf season, friends, parties, trips. And it will fly by. The seconds, the minutes, the hours, the days, the months. They will fly by. And a year from right now Ill be buying her dorm things. And the things that happen between this moment and that moment when I pack her car are all that we have. And I will soak up, complain about, enjoy, cry through, laugh, plan, and take pictures of….all of it.
Part of me feels like we are going home to visit. Like she may go home to go to school. Like she may be a million miles away from me making new friends, going to class, learning hard lessons, doing some things she shouldn’t, learning, growing, and becoming a person. And wasn’t that the goal?
Despite what some may think….I love Texas in my soul. Its like a sibling, I can make fun of it….you cannot. Colorado has become my home. Love it here more than I ever imagined. I belong here. I will most likely die here. So I take my girl home this week to decide if UT is where she wants to go. And I pretend that its no big deal. That its just a college visit. But I know what it really is. I’ll walk beside her quietly at the tour. I wont interject opinions (as hard as that will be). Because this is HERS. She turned 18 last week. My job as a parent will never ever be done. Ever. But I am acutely aware that my roles have lessened. That I did all I could do the best I knew how. That she’s funny and smart and capable and ready to leave. And as much as that hurts…..its exactly as it should be. Here’s to Austin. Here’s to Texas. Here’s to my daughter…and the choices she gets to make. I hope she knows whatever she chooses that its the right thing. And it will eventually lead her to where she is meant to be…….even if it’s a 1,000 miles from “home”.
“Oh very young, what will you leave us this time
You’re only dancin’ on this earth for a short while
And though your dreams may toss and turn you now
They will vanish away like your dads best jeans
Denim blue, faded up to the sky
And though you want them to last forever
You know they never will
(You know they never will)
And the patches make the goodbye harder still”
CAT STEVENS, “Oh Very Young”