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In less than a month, I'll be moving to an apartment in Mankato, which is where I'll be taking full-time college classes for post-secondary. As moving day gets closer, I keep thinking about the whole idea of growing up. I'll be 18 this month, moved out, going to college and having a job. 

It's a lot of responsibility for an 18-year-old to take on, but it's not like I'll be alone. I'm moving in with my boyfriend of six months and his two roommates. Rent will only be $285 per person after utilities and everything. And as much as my dad wishes I would just stay home, we both know this day is coming — whether it's this year or next year. 

Although I'm really excited to be living on my own for the first time in my life, the thought of it also makes me sad. It's not only hard for a parent to see their child leave for college, it's hard for the child, too (at least, it is for me and others I've talked to). I used to be unable to wait until the day I got to move out, but that was when my dad and I were fighting all the time. 

We rarely fight any more, which makes leaving even harder. I was always a huge daddy's girl growing up. When I was younger, he was my best friend as well as my dad. When I turned about 15, I became more close with my mom. Obviously, being a teenage girl, I didn't always see eye to eye with my dad. 

My mom understood me more, and I could tell her anything. I spent a lot of time at my mom's house these past few years, making up for all the time I missed with her when I was younger. Because my parents divorced when I was 5, and my dad got full custody of my brothers and me, we only saw my mom every other weekend and on Tuesday nights for supper, along with the occasional weeknight where we would stay over at her house. It wasn't until I was 12 that she moved close enough to where we could stay with her whenever we wanted and still be close enough to New Richland to get to school and such.

It's going to be really hard leaving my parents, and I'm going to miss them a lot. And although moving out and supporting myself financially will be tough, it'll also be exciting. I'm really looking forward to going to college to finish out my senior year of high school, living with my boyfriend who I'm completely in love with, having a job, no longer having to ask my parents for money every time I want to go somewhere  — it's all something I've never really experienced before. 

My parents can come visit me, and I can go visit them. Mankato isn't very far away from New Richland. I would know, as I've been driving there almost every day for the past five months. This will be a really good experience for me, I know it. I'm close enough to where if I want to move back to New Richland for the year, I can.

Next year, when I go to U of M Twin Cities, that won't be an option. But I'm going to work hard and try and make this work. I want to prove to myself that I can do it. I'll still be writing a column every week for the paper, as well, because I really enjoy doing it.

I'd like to thank everyone for all the compliments on my column. They're what keeps me motivated to continue writing, and I appreciate immensely all the support from the readers. I'd also like to apologize for not having a column written last week. 

As most everyone in town knows, Rodney Arnold passed away last Friday. However, many people don't know that he was my grandpa (he was my mom's biological dad). It was a really hard thing to go through. He's the second close grandparent I've lost in less than a year. 

Although Grandpa Rodney didn't see my brothers and I as much in the past few years, he did still love us. I remember all the Christmases and birthdays that he came to. In the two-hour home video of my first birthday party, he was there the whole time. 

I've watched that tape many times, and it always made me happy to see Grandpa Rodney (or as we used to call him as kids, Papa Rodney) holding my hands and walking me around the lawn with a big smile on his face. He was always so happy, and he was taken away much too soon. 

I, as well as many, many others, will miss him very much. I know he's in a better place now, watching over us all. I love you, Grandpa Rodney, I miss you, and I'll see you again one day. While you're up in Heaven, please also watch over my Grandma Millie (my dad's mom), as well. I'm praying for the both of you.

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