The absence of D2 is strange. I walk pass her room and see it empty and surprisingly, clean. There’s no coffee mugs on the desk, or clothes thrown onto the floor in a frenzied panic. The car we shared is still filled with wanton coffee cups and rowing materials, tossed on the back floors reminding me of her once fluid presence. In the trunk of said car, I found a cap, a sweater, a yoga mat and coloured tissue paper used for a friend’s gift, now forgotten and abandoned. She’s still here, but isn’t. I went through her drawers to find a top I could ‘borrow’ for work. Instead, I ended up emptying the drawers, organizing pants and tops and putting some questionable things in the laundry. I didn’t find anything to ‘borrow’, but she now has neat folded clothes organized in an efficient manner for when she returns.
But, if all goes according to plan, she won’t be returning. She’ll be moving on. On to another province and another life.
It is a good thing, of which I am reminded daily after everyone tells me she’s supposed to move on. She’s supposed to get a life and have a career and not be in her room on the second floor. The room that was once decorated with lilac walls and flowery wall paper; dolls lying everywhere and shelves with Beanie Babies strewn upon them. Book shelves with Disney covers and old Dr. Seuss stories she should have given her younger brother ages ago. The bunk beds she shared with her sister, a tv on the dresser, her stark white Tae Kwon Doe gee and colored belts strewn in the corner along with her guitar lying lazily on its side.
All of that is gone, except for the guitar. It’s now in my room, hidden behind her grad dress and boxes of old photographs.
I am reminded that I shouldn’t be lamenting my loss, but delighted in her gain. I should be happy for her, that she is doing something she wants to do and is securing a future for herself. Yeah, yeah. Easier on the other side when kids are still home and tucked in bed at a reasonable hour and you still make the rules and the meals and discuss how unfair math homework is.
It’s supposed to be easier when they get older, isn’t it? Not so, dear friends. Not so. There’s university, then jobs, then careers, then…gasp, WEDDINGS, BABIES, HOUSES IN NEW TOWNS, NEW PROVINCES?! WHEN WILL IT END?!
Aye, there’s the rub. It doesn’t. It’s the never-ending cycle of having babies and watching them grow up and move on and become the people we always hoped they would be.
And when they DO do it, you’re surprised and proud and sad all at the same time. Surprised that you actually pulled it off. You managed to raise a human being that contributes to society, is intelligent (although when she was 3 and proceeded to on the toilet backwards because “my friend Lucas pees this way” you kinda wondered…) has common sense, the ability to laugh and that ever-biting sarcasm. Proud because she fought her way through school and work and negative old men who doubted her abilities. Sad because she is gone. How did that happen? Hubby and I look at each other, full of wonder. Wasn’t she just turning 4 yesterday?!
Then the worry of did you teach her enough, did you make her tough enough to fight back, did you give confidence to believe in herself and not to listen to the nay-sayers? Did you fill her enough with knowledge of that big bad world, compassion enough to listen to the unfortunate, and creative enough to solve the problems she will face? Did you?
Beats the fuck out of me.
I guess time will tell. At some point, I have to say we’ve done all we can do. It’s now up to her. It’s all in her hands, not ours. If she succeeds, it’s all because she wanted it bad enough to work her ass off to get it. If she doesn’t, it’s all because she chose not to; she chose to walk another path and it’s ultimately her choice to make. Not ours.
In the meantime, I’ll wait. I’ll continue to walk passed that empty room, dust the furniture every once in a while, fold some more clothes that I won’t ‘borrow’, knowing we’ve done our best.
Soar on, little bird. Soar on…