And just like that she’s off.

That moment in a parent’s life you don’t want to ever think about. That moment you hope never comes even though you feel it always looming. That moment you toss around as a reference point for everything else, what comes before and after, just never the moment itself. Then all of a sudden, that moment becomes this moment.

This past fall, my firstborn went off to college. Mixed in with much pride and excitement for her was an intense sadness and sense of loss. I’ve worked so hard to prepare her for this moment yet I neglected to adequately prepare myself. After 18 years, so much of my identity feels defined by my role as a mom, so now what?

One academic quarter and countless tears and FaceTime chats later, I’ve come to embrace this new life stage and view it as my own personal Reset button. I am spending more time taking care of myself and now working on composing my next chapter.