The Year in Review…Part 1

2011 is in the bag and I couldn’t be happier! The year was a battle from start to finish and while I’m thankful for everything God has done I’m ready to move forward. Today, I’m doing a review in pictures. That way, I talk less and you get to see the big highlights that I never ended up blogging about. Um, yeah, not quite…I talk too much.

In a bit of a recap, this time last year we couldn’t have imagined that Amanda would end up going to college in Florida. We also couldn’t have imagined the doors that God would open for her in such a short time. In addition to being a panelist on the school’s TV show, she also starred in two short films. I saw one of them and it was funny and fantastic to see Amanda doing what she loves. So I think the college trip is a good starting point…

On the drive down, Halle gets the award for most uncomfortable sleeping position…ever.

Halle also gets the award for cheesiest photo.

I made Chloe do the water skier but she objected strongly. Gone are the days when she was up for anything. Sigh. She was definitely up for some Florida orange juice though.

When we got to Shane and Angie’s house (Trav’s brother and sis-in-law) we’d driven 14 1/2 hours. It was Amanda’s first time to ever drive that far. Add nerves to that and she ended up in a crying heap slumped over her steering wheel. I calmed her down knowing it was temporary (she is very much like me after all) and the next morning looked much brighter. Literally. It is Florida after all.

We visited the campus and got a head start on filling out all the forms. Thankfully we beat the mad rush and didn’t have to stand in line for anything. Then we headed to Ikea. We also planned to go to John’s Pass but it was too much for one day.

The next day was the beach…Not sure if you notice but this is *a lot* of driving. We were tired. But we were so close, we had to go to the beach.

The only picture of me taken the whole trip…by me.

I’m noticing that I’m much blonder in Florida. Hmmmm….

The beach was fabulous. Even though it rained and even though the water temperature was like bath water…it was fabulous. It casts a spell over me every.single.time. I find it hard to believe sometimes that I spent the majority of my life there. It often seems like a dream. Then I look at the hills here and I snap out of it.

We got back from the beach around midnight and were in bed around 1am. We had to be back up by 6 to get Amanda to campus to check into her dorm. We were tired.

And I took pictures of everything…this is Amanda leaving Shane and Angie’s house. She’s giving me the “Mom, you’re crazy!” face.

Here she is once we got to campus…and is giving me the, “Mom, you’re annoying me but I’m going to be nice about it” face.

And the, “Mom are you *really* going to take a picture of everything I do?” face.

This particular table was step one. I fully intended to take a picture of steps 1-4. At the end of step 1 though, Travis started tearing up and we both sort of bolted out the door so that she wouldn’t see us cry. We knew that the last thing she needed was for her parents to start sobbing. She was being so brave, her life had changed so much in just a few short months and we needed to be strong for her. I think I said something ridiculous like, “If she stays here for more than a semester I’m moving back.” I’m not really, it’s one of those silly distraught mom things to say.

Then we got to see her room!

And even though it’s sort of bare bones, it was a hundred times better than the nasty dorm she stayed in at MTSU. I’m slightly jealous of the palm tree view she has outside her window. I’m not even remotely jealous of the heat and humidity. Just sayin’.

We rushed off to pick Chloe and Halle up (who were having a fantastic time playing with cousins)…

Then rushed off to Target to pick up essentials and meet my brother and sister-in-law for lunch.

I also got to meet my great-nephew for the very first time!

I also got to see my nephew (pictured) and nieces.

Target seemed to be the breaking point for the girls. Halle wanted me to carry her through the store and tried to sleep on my shoulder. Chloe burst into tears because someone she didn’t know rolled their eyes at her. We were truly at the point that we couldn’t jam one more thing into the trip. So we went back to campus and then back to home base. Trav’s family was kind and all met us at Shane and Angie’s.

It was lovely and rainy and I tried to sneak out to the patio undetected to cry a bit. Amanda saw me and she and I had a talk. Then after everyone left all the girls watched the first two episodes of season 4 of Gilmore Girls. The ones where Rory goes to college. It was a moment that you’d have to be Amanda and I to understand but it helped. I think we were both ready to move forward after that.

The next morning we packed up and left for the long drive home. Amanda didn’t start sobbing and neither did I. It’s miraculous really.

Okay, so I stink at not narrating.

Getting Ready

Deep breath.

I was going to do a picture through the years sort of thing for Amanda today but it would require too much time to scan the pictures in and it’s something that I might not recover from emotionally anyway. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be and I’m really dreading this trip. I’m happy that we get to see family and friends and we have to be there for Amanda but part of me wishes that I didn’t have to walk through this.

Parenting is hard.

Letting go is harder.

But letting go is what we’re working toward from the day they’re born. It’s the only way to parent them well.

I could say, “I’m too young for this” or even, “I’m too old for this”, although neither is true. It has nothing to do with my age and has everything to do with my heart being broken. But because I love Amanda so much I will walk through this knowing that I will cry a lot and I will miss her so much but I’m not alone.

God is with me.

God is with us.

Amanda has been through so much to get her to this point. You may not know this but going to college is a point of surrender for her. And I know He is with her.

I thought this morning, “I love her so much” and I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “I love her too”. I know He does and it’s my comfort. And I trust Him with her. I’ve said that we’re leaving Amanda in the care of SEU but it isn’t true. We’re leaving her in the care of my Father and I trust him to take care of her.

Deep breath.

Two and Two

It’s approximately two weeks until Amanda moves back in with us and two weeks until school starts for her. I have purging and rearranging to do although I’m not sure what I’ll purge. I did that just recently. She’s selling all of her stuff though and that will make it easier. Three adults and one bathroom will not be easy but I have a feeling that she’ll be working so much that we won’t see her a lot. Although I wish that wasn’t the case.

It’s just kind of crazy the way it all happened. A week and a half ago she called me and was frustrated about something, or everything really. And I threw it out there, “Why don’t you go to Southeastern for a semester and see what happens?” That’s a very simplified paraphrase. It was much more passionate than that because I’m nothing if not passionate. And she called back a little while later and said, “Mom, I’m really considering what you said.” I was shocked! I never expected it to stick. Really. I’d just mentioned it a week prior and she told me unequivocally that she was never, ever going to go to college. God has a way of bringing us to the end of ourselves though. She feels like she’s at a dead end here and Travis and I agree with her.

But I am really going to miss her.

So, this season has gotten a lot more stressful. And also a lot more exciting. We really hadn’t planned on taking any kind of vacation this summer and now I see why. I’m looking forward to going to Florida…even if it is in August…bleh!

Some funny things…

I told her that she could leave her pea coats at home. She asked (somewhat shocked), “Won’t I need them in November?” I laughed and laughed.

She has very wavy, very thick hair. I was able to reminisce about my bad hair year. 8:30 classes + Florida summer humidity= seriously bad hair. We rarely get that type of humidity here. And for that I’m thankful.

Bunk beds. The dorms have them. My 21 year old is not overly excited.

Some exciting things…

Ikea!

She’ll be really close to family and friends.

Disney! Whaaat? We haven’t been to Disney since she was 9. It’s kind of sad really.

Downtown Disney or whatever they call it these days. It’s really her most favorite place.

And maybe we’ll visit more often now. She’s planning on studying communications/theatre/film (not sure how all that works yet) and so there will be shows and she will be in them. And we’re not missing it. I’m really, really glad we homeschool because we can take a trip if we need to. And I’ll just go ahead and throw out the obvious…we’re not moving back. I figured I’d add it before anyone got hopeful…or nervous for that matter. I love Florida and I love our family but Tennessee is where we’ve made our home. Although I always pictured myself living in North Carolina 😉

And now I should wrap up this Amanda-centric post. I have a ton of scholarship applications to help her with in addition to keeping the house running. But I’ll leave you with this really fun site (if you haven’t seen it already). Pinterest. It is seriously fun and very helpful. A few years ago I found the plans for my dream house…and then I lost it. I searched 24 pages of Southern Living’s website to find it to no avail. I did find several other really cool house plans and pinned them to my board so I don’t lose them. This is my favorite, I think. Or maybe this one. I do love Cape Cod style. I’m dreaming of some land in the Natchez Trace area. Yeah, I know, it’s pricey out there. But you never know, sometimes dreams come true.