Empty the Tank…..

by Julie on September 13, 2010

I am staring at the big elephant in the room.  He is right there.  We are eye to eye.  I can’t avoid his gaze and yet I want him to go away.  But he won’t.  He will be staring at me with lazar sharp focus until September 19th when my daughter leaves for college.  She is my oldest and the first to leave the nest.  I know I have discussed this before, probably even obsessed about it, but it’s now here and it’s looming all over my household.  My child is leaving.  She is packing as I type and this weighty issue is almost more than I can bear.  But as sad as I am that one part of my life is winding down, I am thrilled that a new chapter is beginning for my wonderful child.

Which brings me to a parent’s biggest dilemma.  What do you say to your child in those last moments before you head to the car and she heads to a new life?  How do you sum up years of life’s lessons?  I assume you start with the obvious reminders:  Stay safe; watch your surroundings; don’t set your drink down and walk away only to come back and take a sip; always walk with a friend at night; try and eat healthy once in a while.  And then there are other not so important things I think I want to make clear:  Don’t wash your new cotton/flannel shirt in hot water; give me a decent reminder when your contact lens supply is running low; don’t forget to lock your bike; let us know when your meal card is running low.  But it doesn’t matter.  I’m not certain how much she will hear.
A few days ago I was watching something on the Internet.  A person was giving praise to someone he admired and his words captured me.  In honoring his friend he remarked that whether his buddy was performing before large crowds or being a good husband, father or citizen, that he “empties the tank…. he always empties the tank.”  Those words struck me.  You can’t do better than that.  So as my daughter gets ready for her new adventure I want to say to her: “empty the tank.”  As you walk into your new dorm, as you meet new friends, as you go to your classes and introduce yourself to your professors, give it everything you got.  Show them what you are made of.  Show them your kindness.  Show them your eager eyes and your contagious sense of humor.  Let them hear your hearty laugh and let them feel your spirit.  You have so much to give to this world, so give until you can give no more.  Make every experience count.  Push yourself in every endeavor. Don’t give up.  Empty your tank.
In the next few months I will be learning a few things too.  I will fight the urge not to text her several times a day.  I will limit my advice and see how she will handle life’s problems.  I’m going to focus on watching her bloom as opposed to giving her unsolicited advice.  I want her to know that we are always here for her and this is always her home.  Make good choices and continue to make us proud.
And so that’s what I will try and say amidst all of the emotions that are certain to surface.  But in case the words don’t come so easily next Sunday, let me say it now: Empty the tank Kate.  Oh, and don’t forget to call once in a while.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 13, 2010 at 4:06 am

Wonderful! I already miss her…but am confident she will do no less than empty the tank. And thanks…I needed a good cry!!

Aunt Kathy

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Anonymous September 13, 2010 at 4:21 am

O.K Grandma…..chin (chins)up, stay strong…No sobbing when I call up cheerily on Saturday to say "Hugs……..and enjoy every moment of this special time in your life"
I remember how I smiled and waved goodbye to you as you drove off in your little VW.loaded with groceries..and then put myself to bed…We are all confident she will do her very best..and you will too…xxoo

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kayellen September 13, 2010 at 4:25 am

Love that girl and love you!! Hang in there~~and anytime you need a Mom getaway you let me kniow..I vote Kathy's house:)) LA!
or just to chat~~I am here!!

xo
K

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Alicia September 13, 2010 at 4:40 am

What a beautiful post about your daughter preparing for college. I'm following you via Mom Bloggers Club. thanks for visiting me…
Have a Wonderfful Week!
Alicia Healthy Living And A Balanced You-www.aliciahunter.net

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Nicki September 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I am crying now. Maybe it is because I have had 3 cups of coffee and nothing to eat and my tummy hurts. Maybe it is because I have soooo much crap on my mind and stuff to do that all I AM doing is sitting on the computer. Maybe it is because I stubbed my piggy-toe 15 minutes ago and it still hurts. Maybe it is because my son and I had a huge fight over him wearing a sweatshirt to the bus stop. Maybe it is because my daughter is in 11th grade and I can't bare the thought of her going off to college yet. Maybe I just needed a good cry and your post helped open the pressure valve that I have been trying to keep closed. Thanks!

I am sure your daughter will do fine and I hope she does call you a ton!!!!

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Johanna September 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Beautiful, and she will be fine. I have two that left the next, and life surprised me again. Now, I have a 1 year old. Don't know how the hell that happened, well I mean, I do but never thought I would be doing it all over again. : )
A new chapter of life is openening for your daughter but for you as well. : )

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Leigh Edwards September 13, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Oh my goodness, your post brought tears to my eyes. Expect the best and know that she will be home to visit soon.

I'm following you from MBC. I'd love for you to visit my blog when you get a moment.

Have a great day!
Leigh
http://holistichealthmaven.blogspot.com

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Kelli September 13, 2010 at 5:44 pm

I'm following from MBC. My children are still are still a few years from college 14, 11 and 5. I love the saying "empty the tank" its absolutely fitting. My 2 cents, is that you can always drop this message in a note in her bags for her to read as she unpacks. I bet she'll love it and probably read it often when she needs/wants some home support without calling.

I'd love for you to visit my blog when you get the time.

Have a nice day!

Kelli
http://kellityusphotography.blogspot.com/

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Pattie September 13, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Wow….you say so much of how I feel and can't EVER put into words Julie. Your words are beautiful, heartfelt and so true to all of us who have sent our kids out that door into their future. Kate will make you proud. I have NO doubt about that!!!

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Mrs. Lady September 14, 2010 at 8:43 pm
Cindy September 15, 2010 at 12:43 am

awesome! simply awesome! So glad I found you on MBC! I'm an new follower.. please stop by and vist me as well
http://cindyseesit.blogspot.com/

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DigiMom September 15, 2010 at 1:09 am

Proud to be your 100th follower from MBC! :) Beautiful post…I love "empty the tank".
DigiMom
http://www.digicrumbs.com

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Naomi September 15, 2010 at 7:26 am

I have not got to that stage with my kids yet and will be freaking out when I do – how wonderful though that she is moving forward – well done MUM! Naomi

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Jen September 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I do really need to soak up my kids more!!! Thanks for the reminder. I'm following you, wanna follow me? http://thefaithfullyfit.com

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Anonymous September 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm

You are gifted……….You need to be published………Keep up the great work.
Emma

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Britney September 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Hello,

I wanted to let you know that I am following you from Moms Blogger Club, "The Simply Follow" group. I am hoping when you get a chance you can follow me back at http://www.britneysbeautyblog.com and http://www.britneysbeautymark.com. Also, I would love to place a link to your site on my blog if you want to do the same with my blog on yours. Please let me know by sending me an email regarding this and it has been nice meeting you via the web.

Thanks, Tracey
(a.k.a Britney/ author)

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***Holly*** September 16, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Great blog! I found you on MBC and I am your newest follower!

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Jinnia September 16, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Hi there, this is really beautiful. Your love for your daughter shines through this post. I love how you took those words, "Empty the tank" and thought about all these different ways it applies to your Kate. Simply beautiful.

I'm your newest follower from MBC Simply Follow. Come visit me at http://jinnialow.com

Have a great day!
Jinnia

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Reluctant Writer September 17, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Hi,

What a beautiful post. Im sure you daughter will be great in college.

Im your newest follower from Mom Blogger Club.

http://rwriterjourney.blogspot.com/

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The Sunny Side Walker September 20, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Oh how that phrase resonates with me. I need to empty my own tank…I tend to hold back ever so slightly and keep some in "reserve"…not sure why. Thanks for a beautiful post.

Your blog is "lovely" and you have an award waiting waiting for you on my blog! Come by and pick it up when you get a chance!

Warm Regards,
Jen Maddox
http://www.TheSunnySideWalk.blogspot.com

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Fashion Mommy September 22, 2010 at 6:26 am

Oh my goodness what a beautiful post. My daughter is only 15 months old and I am already dreading that day!!! New follower, so glad I found your blog!

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Joanne September 30, 2010 at 4:57 pm

So how did you do and how are you doing now?

Joanne

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Kristin October 5, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Beautiful post and beautiful daughter! Nice blog! Following you from MBC. Stop by my site when you have a chance.

Kristin
http://www.Kristinsreview.com

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CJ October 7, 2010 at 3:07 am

This was such a honest and beautifully written post, which I am sure your daughter will cherish for all her life.

Thanks for commenting on my blog! Following you from MBC.

http://killsuperwoman.blogspot.com

CJ

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Jodi October 8, 2010 at 4:50 am

Wow, beautiful post. I dread the day I have to send my first off to college. The years seem to go by way too fast.

I am your newest follower from MBC.

Jodi
http://www.jodishomebiz.com
http://amomhavingfun.blogspot.com

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