April 14, 2019

It is strange to be a visitor in your child's life. You spend 17 or 18 years raising them under your roof, and then they go and start a new life, sometimes in a new city, without you.

We have returned from our Philly spring break... and it was fabulous. The weather was nice and we stayed right in center city and walked miles and miles every day, exploring the neighborhoods. Our rental apartment was in the Rittenhouse Square area of Philadelphia. Ironically, Dan and I stayed at the Rittenhouse hotel on the first couple of night of our honeymoon. That was 25 years ago, this September! That's some kismet, I guess.

We shopped and ate and spent time seeing Erin in her school environment. We visited campus and hung out in between her classes. We did the obligatory Target run - what college kid doesn't need their mom and dad to pick up a few things at Target?

And, we got to celebrate Erin turning 18. She's finally an adult :) We took Erin and her 4 best Philly friends out for pasta and laughs. There was plenty of both. They seem like a great group of girls and Erin feels like she's found her tribe. Dan told them all how grateful we are that Erin has people who care for her so close by when we are so far away.

It is strange to not know Erin's friends like I always have. I found myself wanting to soak up as much information as I could from each of them. It's such a momma instinct.

I guess it's just another little step in the process of letting go. I don't get to know everything anymore. I know, I know... I probably didn't know everything in high school, either. But, I could at least fool myself into believing I did!

When Erin was leaving our apartment one night to head back to her dorm, I instinctively said "text me when you're home safe". I mean, when I'm not in Philly, I don't expect her to keep me posted on her comings and goings. But, because I was there, I had to do my mom thing... at least she appeased me with only a small amount of eye rolling.

Truth is, she doesn't need to check in with me. She's her own person with her own life in her own city. And she's happy. School is challenging, but she loves what she's studying. She feels she's in the right place for her. What more could a momma want?

Erin will be home in two months. Because of Drexel's quarter system, she don't finish until mid-June. Then, we'll get her back under our roof for three months. After that, who knows...

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. I find myself wondering what life will be like in the future. For her. For me and Dan. I need to just remember to enjoy the times I get with Erin. Don't rush it or wish it away.

Tomorrow is diagnosis day. Eight years have now passed since the day the music changed for our family. I guess there's no better reminder that nothing is guaranteed, so enjoy what's here and now. Erin, Dan and I are happy and healthy. Life does go on. And life is good.

But, maybe I hold on to Erin just a little too tight because she's going where Shannon never got to go. Every year that goes by, makes that gap between Erin and Shannon grow.

I regret that I didn't get more practice being a mom of adult children. I only get this one shot, so I hope I don't screw it up. Erin, and Shannon, deserve my best.