My mother and I argued the ENTIRE summer before I went to an out-of-state college. She went on and on, picking arguments with me about everything from travel to packing to even a rental car. I thought she was losing her mind. She even nitpicked when we went on campus to check out the school. I was so ready to get away from this crazy lady, even though my father and brother were being on their best behavior and pleasant the whole eight-hour ride. And then I got ready to storm away from the car once all my bags were in, took one glance back and burst into tears like it was my first day of kindergarten. And she ran right into my arms.

That was when it hit me that my mother was simply hurt that her daughter was a grown woman who was leaving. For good. No longer in her home. I think men are better able to handle this reality. But my brother and father saw the two of us and both turned away. I could see them wiping their eyes. And all three got in the car and cried while I cried, standing in that parking lot alone. It wasn’t until THAT moment that I realized I was grown too. I ended up going to two schools (both eight hours away) and graduated in four. I spent less than a year back home after graduation and haven’t lived with my parents since. But I think I love my parents and my brother more because of it all. They all had to get used to me growing up.

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