Well, she’s gone. Off to college – my first born, my first Scoliosis warrior. Our jobs as parents are to work ourselves out of a job. We WANT them to become independent and capable and ready to spread their wings and fly – yet we also want them close. I am overjoyed and excited for her – she is doing great at college. Great roomate, great school, new friends – I couldn’t be more at ease with her situation there. But…she’s still not next to me and it’s uncomfortable. We don’t think about her Scoliosis much anymore. It seemed like our entire lives for so long, but now it’s just background noise. Maybe we are more used to it, or maybe it just got easier, but it only creeps up every once in a while. It did for me during move in – “is that mattress going to be comfortable for you – I don’t want your back to get sore”. Also, we have the additional challenge of locating a massage therapist in her area that accepts our insurance – because we need to make sure she keeps taking care of herself. She’s eating relatively healthy and still making time to workout, so that’s good – she needs to maintain her good habits away from home. But, the reality is that my job, while not entirely done, has significantly decreased and now it’s up to her. I just grab onto those rare video chats and our texts and hold on and appreciate that we can keep in touch so easily. I remember that I’m always there when she reaches out and needs me. And, I remember that my life is much more than my kids – that they seem like everything, but that they can’t be – because when they are gone, something needs to be left. So, here is my advice: 1. Don’t let Scoliosis dominate their youth – don’t wish the time away to “when you don’t have to brace anymore”, etc…the time will zoom by. So, find ways to enjoy the time you have, regardless of the challenges swirling around you. 2. Keep developing you as a person (apart from being a parent) and your relationship with your partner – because, when the nest empties, there needs to be something left. 3. Nurture confidence, competence, and independence in your child at an early age. It will make the transition to “adulthood” so much easier for both them and you. Don’t let their scoliosis condition become the excuse – they will feel so much pride and so much confidence when they overcome the extra challenges they need to endure. Life is full of roadblocks – they have to learn how to navigate them. My heart is with all of you Moms and Dads out there sending off your kids to college – it’s one big tornado of emotions! And, we have no choice but to hold on and ride it out!