She’s gone away

She's gone away. My youngest daughter is off to college, again and finally. She's the fourth and final and it feels to final to have our house empty again. Empty nest is a cruel reality.

Kristen at a crossroad of her life.

Kristen  left on Monday for her first semester of graduate school. Her car full, the house empty. I feel the familiar yin-yang of college students coming and going of the past 11 years.

This time is different. Nothing could have prepared for the day when the youngest left, never to return for more than a visit.

I moved a few orphaned belongings to the attic, feeling like an orphan parent. I donated a bag of clothing , scaled down food purchases, and expect her to turn up in the morning, at dinner time.

I can’t believe she fit everything into her little Celica and how orderly she left her room. My soul is disorderly and crammed with conflicting emotions. I detoured my life and put the four of them first, ahead of my own needs, career and life.

Empty nest was expected, anticipated and prepared for. I gave them skills to live independently — based on the ability to make good decisions. Now I now coach other parents to teach children and teens the art of independent decision-making.

I’ve done my job well. I’m as obsolete as her empty bedroom. My relationship with my four grown children is optional, and hopefully out of desire, not obligation. We’re establishing new traditions and reasons to get together. How often is often enough? How many calls and visits are intrusive? At what point does an adult child’s extended visit imply he should pay room and board?

There’s always new ground to cover in parenting, which is why children invading our lives enriches, challenges, frustrates, entertains and gives us a purpose.

It has been worth every sacrifice. My husband, dog and I mourn over the end of an era. The dog tried to stow away in Kristen’s already-crammed car. Bob and I had a good long wet hug when she didn’t show up for dinner.

It’s been a good run.

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4 Comments on “She’s gone away”

  1. tanyetta Says:

    This was the sweetest post ever. I felt this way when we moved to Florida and our oldest chose to stay in California. I seemed to be the ONLY one that shed tears. Everyone else rejoiced and said it was a good run and it was time for her to be on her own. She is going on 23. *sigh*
    I will always feel the emptiness with her gone. Wait, I have two little people to keep me busy! 🙂

  2. raisingable Says:

    We moms feel things more deeply. We’re the ones who are THERE for them.

    2 more still at home- you still have a few more years.

  3. Mo Says:

    I see make mittens. I am so interested in that. Can you send me instructions how you do the wool sweater, the rest of the ‘making of a sweater’ and a pattern? I would love it.
    Thanks, Mo


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