You watch them grow right before your eyes.
Starting school seems an eternity away.
Then comes high school - gosh where did the time go?
Graduation - OMG that is years off and then next thing they are heading off to Schoolies week.
The day Brittany mentioned doing a University Exchange in the UK, I laughed. Having struggled with anxiety from a young age, not for one minute did I think this would eventuate.
Heck, she didn't even like sleepovers - and I won't even mention the the anxiety we went through getting her to school camps. So how the hell was she going to move to the other side of the world?
Turns out I have underestimated my daughter's strength and abilities.
Fast forward 5 weeks before her departure - as I was paying for her airfare, all of a sudden I was crippled with fear.
I am generally a positive person, however, my whole mindset changed. I tried to regain control of my thoughts and snap myself out it, but nothing seemed to work.
Planes crashes, terrorist attacks, abduction and sold into sex slavery (& wishing Liam Nielsen was her father) were all at the forefront of my mind. Sounds dramatic I know, but it consumed me.
I felt like I was carrying around a dead weight on my chest. At times I was gasping for breath.
Why on earth was I feeling this way? Millions of young people travel every year and return home safely. Why will it be any different for my daughter?
January 15th was here before I knew it. I had been watching her madly pack and unpack for a week. I could see her anxiety starting to flare, as well the determination to be brave. I was beyond proud of the lengths she was going to, to remain strong.
Me on the other hand - I was a blubbering mess, not that I ever let her see it.
The morning of her departure day I was awake by 4 am, I could not wait for her to wake so I could slip into her bed and cuddle her one last time.
And that is exactly what I did.
I could not stop looking at her beautiful face.
We laughed and joked about how fast this day had come and it was surreal that this would be the last morning - for a while, having a coffee together.
It took everything in me not to scream - DON'T GO - as I fluffed around pretending to be excited about her pending adventure. I was genuinely excited for her, however also struggling with a great sense of loss.
She is a big presence in our home and an only child. We are the three musketeers and she is a very strong link, and now that link was about to be broken.
As her departure time finally arrived and I watched her leave, the feelings of fear subsided and were replaced with this overwhelming feeling of gratitude.
How blessed were we to be given the gift of Brittany.
Our daughter is happy, healthy, smart, social and had defied the claws of anxiety.
She was on her way to pave her own path and make her mark on the world. I would of given anything to be her shadow and protector, but where was the sense in that?
I thought breastfeeding and the terrible two's were bad. They were nothing compared to this. I love being a Mum, but it can certainly be a tough gig.
Watch this space to see if Anxiety raises it's ugly head again! (if so we will kick it in the arse)