I looked around her room after getting home from dropping her off at college. It’s so full of things, and yet so incredibly empty. It’s full of memories and love, and a stuffed animal or two, but not her. And that is hard to accept.
Shortly after moving in to the house Nadia proclaimed her room was too small, which it was, and she commandeered the basement family room as hers. Every morning when I left for work I would have to walk through, trying not to wake her. I would glance over at her sleeping and she would shift around but rarely would wake up. Walking through that room now though, emotions bubble up and my gut just drops. I still look over at her bed, probably out of habit, but it’s empty.
Earier in the week we packed up two cars and made the three hour drive to Duluth. Nadia and I rode together, listening to music and chatting with my mind not fully comprehending what was to come. I knew what the inevitable was, but tried to keep that out of my mind.
We unpacked her things into a room that was a fraction of the size she was used to. I hung up her clothes, noting that she didn’t bring very many sweatshirts and that there were easily 40 more of them sitting at home. I made a mental note that maybe I would send her some, worried that she wouldn’t have enough come winter time.
I helped make her bed, watched as she set out little trinkets she brought. I hoped that when she looked at them they would remind her of the fun we had and the love we have for her. We decorated her baren walls, hung up a fullsized mirror, and to be honest I tried to grasp on to every simple task as long as I could. But it was time. It was time to trust that we planted and nurtured seeds to the best of our ability and it was time to hand over that responsibilty to her. Some tears were shed, but inbetween them we told her we loved her and to have fun and be safe.
And then we walked away.
The drive home was not spent in total silence, but a lot of it was. Speaking for myself, so many thoughts went in and out of my head. How is she the age of when I first went to college? It just didn’t seem that long ago. I spent time hoping that she found future lifelong friends like I did. Worrying that there are people out there with bad intentions and hoping she trusts her gut and weeds those people out. I got a few texts from her while we drove home. The instant connection is nice to have but it doesn’t replace actually having her there.
But yesterday was the hardest, minus drop off day. I didn’t have my mini-me. I don’t work on Fridays and those days were reserved for Nadia and I to go to garage sales, thrifting, hitting up Cruml, and hanging out. I got my haircut, which was also a thing we would always do together. The amount of time we spent laughing the salon together in the past was rediculous. Yesterday, no laughing happened.
I went to a thrift store after and looked around and eventually found a manaquin head. I took a quick picture of it and sent it to her with a “missing you” text. We always found them funny and took pictures of them. Sigh…it has to get easier. It simply has to. I had been warned by other how emotionally hard this would be, but until it happened, I just didn’t understand.
So now starts a new chapter in this crazy life of mine. Dion and I have spent so many years being parents, that it’s hard to remember what it’s like being only us.
Things have changed, likes have changed, and now it’s time to regroup and relearn how to be a couple sans kids being around. What an incredibly strange thought. We will be there for our kids if they need us. We will always text back and answer those rare actual calls. Our love for them doesn’t change now that our house is empty, but our lives certainly have. Change isn’t always easy, but in time, there will be less tears and a new normal to our lives.