Sometimes huge accomplishments come with a huge sense of loss. Next week at this time we will be saying goodbyes as we drop Kriti off in her dorm room in Ohio at Case Western. As a parent we should be excited about her starting a new phase of her life. we should be proud that she got into her dream university. We should feel accomplished that as a family this is our first huge personal win. And I am. I am excited and proud and content with our progress.

But I also have this huge sense of loss that I will be saying bye to my daughter in seven days.

And it’s hard me to fathom life without her around me. As I woke up this morning, I had to put few of my thoughts down on a paper. That is a therapy in itself.

Next week on she will not be part of our daily life. Yes, we will still be able to call her and text her and FaceTime. But it will not be the same as it has been for last 18 years where we have been her whole universe.

Being a nuclear family as we immigrated to this country, all we have is the four of us, and now our dog. And Kriti has been the glue for this family.

She is the only person in our family that everyone confides in, everyone feels comfortable in leaning on her shoulder and crying, everyone reaches out to for help. Kriti is gem of a person.  I’m not saying it as her mom. I’m saying it as someone who has seen her in action- in her community, neighborhood, and peer group.

And I’m extremely proud of who she has become. And hence the sense of loss is also pretty big.

Now there will be new people in her universe. And we will fade away in that universe. We will not have inside jokes with her as much. We will not see her exchanging looks with her sister at the dinner table and just bursting into laughter. We will not hear her and her sister goofing around and singing Taylor Swift songs in the back seat of the car on family trips. We will not have our web MD and medical Wikipedia aka Kriti to tell everything from symptoms to cure for every disease. We will not have our current affairs reports on a regular basis. We will not have heated and passionate discussions on topics like abortion, capital punishment, LGBTQ rights, and COVID vaccination. We are losing a lot in one week.

 As I start this weekend, I still don’t know how I will process this separation. Right now we are trying to squeeze most out of every moment. This week we have planned last Friday dinner, last Saturday dinner and movie, last Sunday pancake breakfast with strawberries and so on, till we leave for the airport on Friday morning. Yesterday we made one of her favorite foods – tacos. Till now, food was never high priority in our family. But now I want to give her taste of her favorite foods till we see her again in five months.

I know it’s not really “last” of anything but it’s last before she establishes another life away from us.

I don’t think it can ever be the same.

As she packs her bags we are thinking through every little scenario that she could encounter and adding something for that. And that has been hard. It’s funny living in the house we never had to put so much thought into it. We know that we have access to anything we need. Now that she will be in a dorm room without a car and without much time, her accessibility will be limited. This process of planning and packing has been really hard. Thinking about many day-to-day things that can go wrong and having a Plan B is giving me anxiety.

Yesterday she did a pinky promise with me.

No matter what happens, she will call me and tell me everything that goes wrong. She will not worry about me getting stressed. I emphasized that I have support here to deal with anything and she will need support from us. I hope she keeps her pinky promise. Just that assurance that she’ll tell me everything will help me sleep at night.