Sunday, August 14, 2011

Empty Rooms and Quiet Houses

My big G left two weeks ago for her new adventure. I am excited and thrilled and nervous for her, proud of the way she is exploring her new home city and becoming more independent. I have laughed at her texts, thrilled to hear her voice on the phone, and been more than happy to answer any questions that she might ask.

Many have asked me, “how are you doing?”

What do I say? Of course I’m okay. I’ve been saying “goodbye” pretty much my entire life, whether it was my best friend in 3rd grade or my husband headed to the field three days after we got married. Some goodbyes are harder than others, but that’s life. I’m used to this. I’ve got this.

But “okay” isn’t the whole answer. Here is the whole answer—

My heart is aching. Nothing looks emptier than the bedroom of a child who has moved out on her own. Yes, her old sneakers are still in the closet. Yes, some of her stuffed animals (and a lot of her precious books) await her having her own first place. But the floor has no clutter, and the desk is empty. This is one empty, quiet place.

My heart is excited. She is becoming the amazing woman I had hoped she would become, exploring and reaching out. She loves learning as I love learning, even more so, and I think college will be eye-opening and fantastic for her.

My heart is scared to death. I think about her new city and all of the cars I saw that looked like they’d been in horrible accidents. I think about how my stepdad used to do “tours of the city” as we drove, telling us where sexual assaults had taken place. I think about the things that I don’t even know to worry about. These are the thoughts that make her a little crazy, as I remind her about all the “talks” we’ve had about safety and smarts.

My heart is curious. What will she learn? What will her choices be? What new place will she ultimately call home? Will the hints of future personality bear fruit?

So…okay, nervous, excited, curious and missing her so much—no matter how I am, on any given day, I’m proud to be her mom and I’m glad that you asked.

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