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Two primary emotions have been floating around the Dugger household the past couple of weeks leading up to Anne's departure on Saturday for Emory and Henry College in Virginia: excitement and anxiety.

Anne's emergence as a foodie began manifesting after taking a culinary arts class at Asheville High, taking her turn in the kitchen at The Outdoor Academy and using her family as guinea pigs.

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"She's interested in so many things she loves to cook, she's becoming quite a little painter and artist, there's the gardening, and this whole sustainability thing that she's into that's going to be interesting for me to watch, to see where she goes with that," he said.

During her 10th grade year she spent a semester at an outdoor school, The Outdoor Academy of the Southern Appalachians, which she says was a fabulous experience.

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"We have been trying to let go and give her a secure space to stretch her wings. I see so many kids that have been watched over too closely and go crazy once they don't have the day to day guidance," she said. "So we are support without the hovering. Check ins are a must, and honesty is crucial."

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Excitement and anxiety

Martha and her husband of 29 years, come November, Lee Dugger, are clearly excited for Anne, happy to see her positioned to discover all the mysteries awaiting her in the world of academia and adulthood, after taking a "gap year" following her graduation from Asheville High in 2010.

Even as Martha says all the right words about being excited for Anne and certain that she will be just fine, there is a shadow of anxiety, if not universal parental fear.

"She likes the pastry side the most, but she likes to spice up dinners for us," Martha said. "She's also done a bit of catering. When Integritive2 (the company Martha recently opened) had our ribbon cutting open house, Anne was the caterer, and she did a fabulous job."

But there will likely be that moment when she looks across the darkened room at her sleeping roommate and then glances longingly at the closed door, wishing her mom was there to kiss her on the forehead and assure her that all would still be well in the morning.

It is the start of an exciting journey for this almost 19 year old, a lovely and talented young woman whose interests are broad and important, who has a thirst for knowledge and a fearless history of travel and adventure, of meeting new people and places.

Lee said he is confident that his daughter is grounded and will thrive in college.

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Beginning this weekend, Anne will be falling asleep without her mother's tender touch and goodnight smile. Instead, she'll be drifting off in a dormitory room on a college campus in a different state, knowing not a soul other than the roommate she is meeting for the first time.

It happened so fast. It was just yesterday that Martha was bandaging Anne's scraped knee, listening to her endless recitation of multiplication tables, talking her through middle school dramas, cheering her on at field hockey, soccer, swimming and track meets.

For all of them, the thought of Anne not being in their rambling house along the Swannanoa River, the thought of the big emptiness that this charming girl with the big personality will leave Red Adidas High Tops For Girls

But the flip side is that in addition to loving their daughter, they really, really like her. They like who she is. They like having her around. They like that they each have their "things" Nmd Human Race Colorways

It's as it should be. Children grow up, fly away, build their own nests.

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Martha, an art director and partner with the firm Integritive2, and Lee, a landscape designer and consultant, both say that Anne's independent streak and impressive roster of experiences away from home in the last few years have helped prepare them for her moving away.

"But she needs to do this, to be with her friends, and I need to learn to be without her and know that she's safe and OK," Martha said. "There's the anxiety about it all, but also an excitement about wow, she's going to go off and do this great thing."

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And now it is happening.

´╗┐Asheville mom faces departure of daughter for first year at college

together: the arts and girl talk between Anne and Martha; gardening, banjo picking and hiking between Anne and Lee. Anne's brother Logan, with whom she is extremely close, attends college locally, so his leaving the nest was more gradual. And Lee and Martha had Anne as a kind of backup kid at home when Logan eventually got Human Race Nmd Red Flight Club

Anne, she said, "has been going and coming for a while, and in some respects it's good for our relationship. I gain a lot more confidence that she will be fine (in college)."

his own apartment.

behind, is painful.

But it hurts, the letting go. And not just for a day.

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When Martha Dugger's daughter Anne was a small girl and anxious about going to sleep in the dark, Martha would draw an imaginary bubble around the girl's body, tie it off at the top and kiss her on the forehead before tiptoeing out of the Adidas Duramo 7 Price room, leaving her now peaceful child with a final smile goodnight.

This spring, she and her friend Caity Heath spent 2 1/2 months hiking 500 miles on the Appalachian Trail. Two weeks ago, she traveled alone on a Greyhound bus to Lollapalooza in Chicago, staying in touch with her parents at every point along the journey via phone and text.

And it is likely that Martha will at some point this weekend be standing in a doorway of her East Asheville home, staring quietly into another darkened room, this one left silent and still, vacated by the beloved daughter who has flown away from her nest toward independence and adulthood.

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"It's already hitting Anne a little, hitting both of us," Martha said last week. "Every time she's out for a night, staying with a friend, in my mind I'm saying, 'There's only two weeks left, and we need to be here together'

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Stretching her wings

"You want to put that little bubble around them for life. You watch the crazy stuff on TV, how this person disappeared and didn't come back," Martha said. "You want to put them in that little bubble to keep them safe. But I know I can't."

And yet suddenly, the countdown began. First it was months, then weeks, then days. The comforter and extra long sheets have been purchased. The laptop is loaded. The toiletries and cleaning supplies are packed. The bicycle is mounted on the car, ready for the journey north.

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