Is it normal
that when I say goodbye, a huge chunk of myself leaves with you?

Is it normal
that I’m happy, thrilled, relieved, excited, depressed, sad, confused, conflicted, all at the same time?

Is it normal
that I wondered for so many years what this moment would feel like, yet was utterly unprepared?

Is it normal
that I’m so fiercely proud of you for your independence, for your mistakes, for your successes?

Is it normal
to both overidentify and actively, consciously, choose to separate my emotions from yours
so that I can get through my day?

Is it normal
that you are a grownup now?

Is it normal
to get teary-eyed that your permanent address is elsewhere
but remain both thrilled and annoyed that you left your passport at home?

Is it normal
to feel that our house is so quiet
despite having multiple kids still living at home?

Is it normal
to cheer that eating out now costs less?

Is it normal
that I have no idea how to cook less?

Is it normal
that parenting you is a new and interesting endeavor
like a new haircut
that hasn’t quite settled yet?

Is it normal
how happy I am
for you
and for me
and for us
that we have all our happy childhood memories to fall back on
and the not-so-happy ones
because we’re normal
and the crazy ones
to laugh about?

It doesn’t feel normal.

But I suppose I’m not the first mother who has had to adjust
to having kids grow up
move out
make big-girl and big-boy choices
learn new things
share some things
mess up some things
fix up some things
and together we can talk about them
or not
and I can be
the proudest mother on the planet
even though
this is just