Sunday morning, I texted some of my girlfriends: Is it OK to put RumChata in your coffee on the day your baby girl is moving out? Asking for a friend!
I needed the support I can always count on them to offer. They didn’t disappoint, offering a mix of humor, virtual hugs, and assurance that we’ll all survive and that this is the goal of parenting — independence and self-sufficiency.
Because K was commuting to college, I assumed she’d live at home the next few years. I was pretty caught off guard by a text on a some random Tuesday when she said her lifelong friend, Emily, asked her to move in and help share expenses.
E lives in a little house a few miles (3.7, but who is counting? It’s me…I’m counting) from my house, a nice little neighborhood with small single-family homes. K would have two small rooms of her own (one for a bedroom, one for an office/guinea pig room) and her own bathroom.
It was an offer too good to pass up, though we both drug our feet a bit before she finally committed and we started collecting the few things she’d need — a desk, a dresser, a bed, etc. I didn’t want her to take all her bedroom furniture (yet) because I want her to be able to come home anytime — maybe stay over sometimes — and know she has a place that is hers.
We had been moving things over little by little, but Saturday was the big move — clothes, plants, animals, and all. I was helping her go through her closet and dressers — making piles: To donate, to throw out, to put elsewhere, etc.
I was fine until I noticed something on the shelf in her closet between the hoodies and the dresses.
Her baby blankets.
I’m glad she was downstairs helping her Dad load stuff into the truck cause I lost it right there. I’m welling up right now just thinking about it.
If you know me, you know I’m not a crier. I’m not sentimental. I’m not emotional. I’m much more likely to throw a punch or a cuss word than drop some tears but, man, there are times in parenting that will scare the shit out of you and make you feel so vulnerable. You have to hold your breath and just hope it all works out:
- Arriving home with Kelly — this tiny, tiny, living, breathing human baby and thinking: HOLY shit, I am the one that has to keep her alive. This is terrifying.
- Leaving her at preschool the first day. A brave face and a happy wave before getting in the car and crying all the way home.
- When they drive off alone for the first time. This is one you don’t see coming, but it will stop your f***ing heart.
- When they go on their first real date. Some boy picks them up and takes them away and you just have to hope he doesn’t break her heart some day.
- When they move out and you’re standing in their room clutching their baby blankets, like…WTF just happened? How did we get here already? How is this over already? How will she not be living in the same house as me?
I know more of these moments are coming: Their first real jobs, first homes, engagement/wedding, maybe babies, maybe moving far, far away from me. That’s the point, right? Independence and self-sufficiency.
But I hope they know — really know — that while their home will not always be mine, my home will always be theirs.
About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.