Five Days Before Our Eldest Heads to University
It started as a lark. One day when our daughter was frustrating me, I downloaded an app that told me how many days there were left until she left for university. Now the app is a reminder that she is leaving and it is no longer funny.
One of the reasons I married my husband was how we deal with the stresses in our lives. I obsess before the event and get all my crying out ahead of time so that I am fresh to help him cope afterward. I have cried on my way to IKEA, when discussing future planning, when browsing Facebook, and when planning her last week of meals at home. My husband is laying in wait for his turn at the tissues and fetal position. This time it might be different. It was eighteen years that went by too fast so I haven’t had the time to be ready.
I know our daughter is ready. Ready to be on her own, make new friends, have new adventures, learn, party, and have fun. She is ready to rip the cord and fly.
I am not ready to pass her open bedroom door without wishing her to be there.
I am not ready to see her seat empty at the dinner table.
I am not ready to hear the quiet of only one child left to tell the stories of the day. I will miss her elaborate tales told in an hour when only ten minutes would do.
I am not ready to watch nothing but action and superhero movies on Friday nights without the additional female to vote for a rom-com.
I am not ready to see her messy desk right behind mine cleared of the evidence that she is busy and working nearby.
I am not ready for the shotgun battle royale to be over as we approach the car. It annoyed me, but I will still miss it.
I am not ready to stop bearing witness to her every day. Watching her dance, hearing her laugh too loud at a favourite show, noticing her roll her eyes at her father, see her frustration with her brother, even how she dismisses me as knowing nothing unless I am offering to let her use the car. I will miss it all.
I am not ready to say goodbye to my travel buddy, gossip compatriot, shopping sidekick, puzzle helper, and the other female voice of reason in the house.
I am not ready to give up helping her with her appointments, her decisions, her problems, her life.
I am not ready for our family of four to be a family of three everywhere we go.
I am not ready. I am just not ready.
Maybe another eighteen years will make the difference. I’ll be ready then if she would just wait.