Write what you know.  I’m not going to venture an opinion on this bit of writing advice, but I am going to use it as a jumping off point. Right now, what I know is that I’m on plane in Nashville waiting for take off. My husband and my son are here, too. My daughter is not. She’s staying behind to start her freshman year at Vanderbilt. She’s completely ready for this transition. Me? Not so much. After I hugged her this morning—and may or may not have shed a tear or three—we walked around the Parthenon in Centennial Park. There was time to think as we wandered among the exhibits and the enormous statue of Athena and her shield (that’s the photo to the right). I found myself alternating between feeling misty and knowing this is as it should be. By nature, I’m a person who wants to jump from one thing to the next. I’m not so sure that’s a healthy way to approach life. Transitions have their own beauty. Beauty isn’t pain-free. It can mean tears. It does right now. My daughter’s off to her new life. My new life will be one without waking her up in the morning or staying up past my bedtime to make sure she’s made it home safe. I won’t be picking up her shoes by the door. I won’t be making vegetarian meals for her. No more girls’ lunches after picking out a dress she needs for the next big event (at least not as frequently). I’m going to miss all that. This moment, though, has its own beauty. As I write this through watery eyes, I know I must feel what I’m feeling. I must feel the emptiness of her room in New York and the happiness of knowing she’s in a small dorm room overlooking the beautiful trees and green lawn of the commons of her campus. She has a lot to look forward to. I do, too. I know that even though this moment is bittersweet, I must savor it because it will not last. So, please excuse me while I shed a few tears . . . and smile some, too.    

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