August 20, 2019
Today, today is exactly 7 days away from “Move-In” Day. A bittersweet thought. Am I proud of my daughter for continuing her education? OF COURSE! We are still getting Acceptance Letters, months after we made our deposit to NJCU in Jersey City, New Jersey. She was just accepted into Barry U located in Miami Shores, which sounded like a DREAM to me but she’s set on being near New York City for internship and career opportunities, so Jersey City it is!
What will change in the next seven days? What will my house look like when we go from three humans to 2 humans? Will it feel empty? I usually come home to some really loud music playing on a speaker in her room, that’s how I keep my youthful edge and know all the words to Chief Keef and Lil Uzi Vert songs. When “NO CAP” became a phrase in my regular vocabulary, I needed her there to laugh at me and remind me that this wasn’t MY time. There is so much to think about, so little time to figure it all out.
I love watching the news with her. Asking her about current events and letting her explain her thoughts on politics, modern-day feminism and the water crisis plaguing communities across the nation. We didn’t always waste time laying around and laughing, she was my best friend for almost 19 years. She lived inside of me and then when she was outside of me, she would’ve crawled under my flesh to get back inside – that is how close we are… There is a very specific relationship when it comes to “only children” and siblings who have large age gaps, the primary caregiver usually is relied on for more than the basics – she relied on me to play with her, to watch Spongebob marathons until we both knew the words to every episode. I can still sing along to “It’s the BEST DAT EVERRRRR” and even worse the entire High School Musical soundtrack. I was a ballerina with her when she got Bella Dancerella, I did it all.
We can joke that “she’s only going an hour away” but if you drive in New Jersey, you know damn well that I could spend 15 minutes getting to the area and then at least an hour getting through Jersey City and forget looking for parking. So, don’t act like I am exaggerating. I am used to having her close enough that I trip over her. I know, I am carrying on, but I am pretty sure that is what we do during these times. Right?
I cry – a lot. Ask my sister who is usually the one who has to listen to said crying. What good does crying do? I end up with swollen eyes, a headache and it seems irrational. I don’t cry in front of Chloe (usually) but there are days when she catches me off guard, like yesterday. What was it? OH! I was walking around the house slouched over, a lot on my mind. She asks “Are you ok?” and I say “Yes! Why?” so she laughs, points at me and says “Look at you”. I look down, my loose bun falls out, hair tie hits the floor. I realize I am in big underwear that no longer fit me, a tee-shirt that is falling off my shoulders that I so cleverly knotted with a scrunchy and I am wearing two different flip flops, one black one white. “It looks like you are depressed” she giggles. As if that is a laughing matter.
INSERT AWKWARD SILENCE.
“No Chloe, I am not depressed” I snap back, “Can EVERYONE just give me some time to process things, this is a lot for Mom.” INSERT TEARS (both as I type right now and as I spoke those words to her) Referring to myself in the third person is a good indicator that I’ve lost my shit. Everyone, who is everyone? EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU that is who. I am blaming everyone for me feeling the total opposite of what I am supposed to be feeling right now.
I know what you’re thinking too… If you follow me on social media, @LaDolceDeeDee, you are probably reading this like… Hmmmmm, I thought it was “HOT GIRL SUMMER” for Dee-Dee and what happened to “LIVING MY BEST LIFE”. Smoke and mirrors people. ROSE. COLORED. GLASSES. I hide a lot.
For the next 7 days, I will be posting here – the highs and lows of this all. What to expect when you are NOT expecting. Something for me to look back at as a sort of time capsule if you will. A diary of sorts.
“I got seven reasons, I don’t got four, five, six.” (070 Shake)
Today the reason I write is… I am heartbroken.
August 21, 2019
6 days to go… I cried myself to sleep last night. My husband, Jerome, had to do some work in the city so he left at about 5 pm and I never heard him come back in and Chloe left for the movies by 6 pm.
To keep myself occupied, I grabbed my recyclable grocery bags and shot over to the farm. Then hit up Stop & Shop. As I stood in the “Toiletry Aisle” just staring at the 100’s of brands and scents of deodorant I began to weep. I think to myself, “if someone else uses her deodorant, she will be so upset, I better buy a few” but I cannot remember which one was HER one.
I am overwhelmed and unsure about everything I know about my life when a man walks past me and we make eye contact. “Freddie” I whisper, embarrassed because I wonder if he will recognize me with a scarf tied into a knot on my head, denim overalls and glasses on.
He stops, “Dee-Dee, oh my God” and we hug.
When I left North Bergen, I lost contact with so many people. He was one of them. Through social media, we were able to reconnect and I eventually became friendly with his wife as well. A few years back, both he and his wife disappeared from my social media feeds and I never did see or hear from them again. I have done that at times, taken breaks from interaction with people through “devices” so I thought nothing of it until I saw his face that moment.
From what I could last recall, they lived 2 hours away from this little town where I reside. In my head, there was absolutely no reason he would be standing in my local grocery store.
The universe aligned.
We spent the next 30 minutes catching up on life. So much has happened for us both and it was a great conversation with someone who, I admit, I didn’t agree with on many things – especially politics. We laughed and yes, we both cried – a lot has happened in a few years. Finally, we exchanged numbers so we can try to get our families together at some point and then went our own ways.
He told me he is not embarrassed to admit he has crystals at home, because of me. He too believes in their powers. He meditates every night and is manifesting all good things. My friend Anayra, who I refer to as my “Goo” aka Guru, always says to be your true self because you never know who is watching or taking notes, you never know who you might be impacting or guiding down a path of enlightenment. She is right, as usual.
He was watching and emulating some of the things I do for my wellbeing so that he can create a more peaceful existence for himself and his family.
When I was standing in that aisle, eyes welled up with tears because I couldn’t remember my daughters specific deodorant, I felt so useless. I could hear Kanye, “YOU DON’T HAVE THE ANSWERS SWAY” in my head. Then, the universe intervened.
I walked out of the store with a smile and no deodorant. I think I will just let her handle that. I have to keep reminding myself, I am so much more than a mom. I have a whole identity outside of that title. I needed him standing right there in front of me to remind me of this, the universe aligns and things work out. This is just the beginning.
August 22, 2019
5 Days Until College…
Today I woke up in a glorious mood. I got a great night of sleep, despite the 2:30 am a phone call from my baby to tell me she made it to her destination safely! I never mind a call from her. Nobody else better try it though. Once she was in, I was able to get another six hours straight sleep.
I have been back on my seven-step skincare regiment and it is time-consuming, but I have the time, and it is paying off. I know this is going to sound crazy, so bear with me, but… I have a friend on Instagram who I only actually know through Instagram. She isn’t a total stranger, I know she knows my daughter but we message all the time. She is constantly asking about my skin which makes me feel amazing. It’s the little things people. So, today I took a selfie in the bright sunlight and slid into her DM’s. She just gets me and now has me convinced that I do not look my age which could be dangerous. If I don’t look my age, why act it? AM I RIGHT? (What do 40-year-olds act like anyway?)
August 23, 2019
4 Days Until College…
August 23rd, a very special day in my life, the day my little girl was brought into this world. She is 18 years old today. Officially “an adult” but, I am not quite sure that is the way I see it. She will always be my baby. With all the madness surrounding college, the money we’ve spent the last few weeks and the exhaustion of getting things settled – I decided that I would getaway for the weekend. My niece, Latoya is 36 weeks pregnant and tonight is her baby “sprinkle” in Atlanta, GA. I am so honored to be the Godmother of her third child, Baby Ayah who is due to arrive in a few weeks. I just ran into, not 1 or 2 but 3 friends in Newark Airport. I love random encounters and it seems I am having more and more of them lately. I usually make a big deal about my daughter’s birthday, but this time around it seems like COLLEGE is the BIG DEAL. I asked Chloe if she minded me missing her 18th Birthday and she gave me her blessing. So, as much as it sucks being away, I am going!
My sister is with me, Tracey is so great party prepping and planning. I swear, she missed her calling as an event planner. Everything looks pristine.
My niece has a beautiful home, custom-built to her liking. I am so proud to see all she has accomplished as a young entrepreneur. She is in the Entertainment business and if you aren’t following her yet, what are you waiting for? (@LatoyaForever on IG and link to Youtube in her BIO)
https://youtu.be/wZ4mxKtJxIQ Latoya Forever Vlog
We celebrate until about 2 am, which at 40 feels like I am “breaking night”. The party *which is also on YouTube (links below) was amazing!
I found out, Chloe ate her first Philly Cheesesteak today in Philadelphia. Thank you Ish!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!
August 24, 2019
3 Days Until College
Oh, my sister. She loves me the most. I swear, all she wants to do it relax but I am up and already writing. I am excited to explore Atlanta. There is so much to do and only 24 hours left to do it all! Tracey was very excited about the “European Breakfast Buffet” in the hotel, I wasn’t sure what that meant so I did a little poking around on the World Wide Web, apparently it’s cured meats and cheeses, so this Vegan walked her ass to the CIRCLE K and bought a SABRA Hummus pack and called it a day.
One of my nearest and dearest friends, Tara, moved to Atlanta years ago and she just dropped her son off at college in Florida. She is a whole 4 hours away from him, meanwhile, I am crying for about 1 hour – so I am going to act solid today! She said she hadn’t cried once. It took about 15 minutes of us chatting poolside for us both to be sobbing and my sister laughing at us while gripping her heart because as a mother, she just gets it.
I sneak in a little “siesta” and then my sister and I hit the town. Atlanta has great energy, lots of things to see! Being from the city, having even lived in New York for a short time, it takes a lot for another city to impress me but it sure did the job. More than anything, I was grateful today. I am in great health, I can not only walk but run through a park for fun. I am with my sister who I have an amazing relationship with and my family is all healthy and happy. What more on EARTH can I ask for? It is a blessing. What a time to be alive!
August 25, 2019
2 Days Until College
It’s Sunday. I fly home. I cook and clean. I go to bed!
August 26, 2019
1 day Until College
Shit is so real. It is a Monday, which is my busy day in the office. We do some last-minute things like laundry and shopping. I watch her as she is packing. I have watched her pack for trips across the world, summers in Canada but this packing is much more thought out. She is packing with a purpose. She keeps handing me stuff to fold “good” and I love that she thinks I am such an impressive folder. I remember how much I loved folding her baby clothes, delicate and tiny. I ask her “will you sleep with mommy tonight?” and she looks over with a laugh, “yes mom, I will sleep in your bed”. I make her promise.
As we load up the car, nobody is saying anything. It is an awkward silence and I don’t like it at all. My husband typically takes on the role of the clown, but he is just quietly organizing the bins in our two trucks. I have never seen him like this, I never really considered his emotions much during this process. I start to feel guilty about that, so I stop to hug him on the lawn. Tears begin to stream down my cheeks and settle into his sweatshirt. “Come on, don’t cry in front of her… You have to be strong for her” he reminds me. I wipe away my tears and hide behind the truck until I pull it all the way together. I got this.
That night, Chloe and I cuddle while her father is out. Even though she ended up sleeping in her bed, I was able to hold onto her real tight for a few minutes and it was just fine. She is going to be just fine. I will be JUST FINE.
August 27, 2019
This is the moment we waited for, the moment she worked so hard for and I’d be lying if I said I was just sad. The truth is, as much as I am sad that she is going to sleep somewhere else tonight, I am so insanely proud. Let’s rewind 19 years, shall we? I can remember telling people I was pregnant and their reactions were so negative. Everyone counted me out. They counted her father out, and we are going on 20 years together. We would just end up another statistic, right? WRONG.
This isn’t some premature VICTORY LAP, I know this is just the start of this journey but she is taking a journey I never even CONSIDERED. College was “not for me” and nobody ever argued that with me except Mr. Steinberg, my High School English Teacher. That man insisted I had a talent and I would waste it if I didn’t go to college. My talent, writing.
The move-in was so organized and she had everything she needed. The dorm is more like a luxury apartment. She is in her element, I can see it immediately. This puts me at ease. My racing heart calms a little and it becomes fun. Meeting her suitemates and seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces. The DJ playing great music so everyone is moving with intention, I loved how the place was buzzing. Before I could even take it all in, she was set up and settled in. There was nothing left for mom and dad to do except say our good-byes.
She walks us to the parking lot, she knows that we cannot do this in front of a crowd or it’ll go viral. Outside of the NJCU West Village Campus, I tell her, once again, how proud I am to be HER mother. I recite a line from “our song” to her in my best Nikki Minaj voice “GREATNESS IS WHAT WE ON DA BRINK OF” and we hug it out. I assure her that my tears are ALL tears of elation. Jerome shares a moment with her and then, the three of us hug. This hug lasts a little longer than most and it is a little tighter. As she begins her walk back to her building, she doesn’t look back. As soon as she is out of sight I make eye contact with my husband. I slowly begin to slide down the car door. My butt is on the hot black pavement and my back is against the truck. My head slumped between my knees. I am crying so hard it is inaudible. My husband successfully pulls me up and into his arms. We embrace and he assures me that this is the first day of the best of our lives. We laugh at my scene, it was dramatic and I am so glad she missed it. Once I can see again through these swollen eyes, we get into our cars and begin our solo journeys. Me, I go to work, why miss a day. Him, he goes sleep for the first time in 30 hours.
I have been inundated with messages of love. Thank you. Today was one of the best days in my life, despite the ache in my heart I am beaming with pride.