It’s been almost a year since I cried over my oldest daughter walking the halls of her high school for the last time, nine months since we packed her up and and drove her to college.
I thought I would cry, but I didn’t. She was ready. I didn’t know it, but I was too.
A lot has happened during those nine months.
She learned a lot, including how to share a 10-by-10 square foot room with a complete stranger. She learned about the pleasures of waking up to find your roommate puked in the only bathroom sink.
She learned that when it rains, you get wet, especially since your principal means of transportation across a large college campus is on foot. An umbrella is at the top of her May birthday list. A raincoat is the No. 2 item.
She learned just how disgusting it is to live with someone who doesn’t do their dishes. I tried to teach her that for years, but experience is the best professor.
She learned how to thrive, far from home, academically and personally.
Those were all important lessons.
And now she’s home, the prodigal daughter returned and transformed. She not only does her own dishes and laundry, she does other family members’ as well. She has already started her summer job, having learned during her freshman year that money is, in fact, very, very important.
We have learned a lot as well.
We learned that it’s easier for four people to share two bathrooms and three cars than it is for five. We also learned that when there are only two siblings sharing the car, there is a lot less jockeying over seats.
It was quiet without her, sometimes lonely. It was also nice knowing that we’d raised her to leave and that she’d done that, that all of the letting go, which is the most difficult part of parenting, had been for a good reason.
Now that we have swelled back to a family of five, we are adjusting again, working out new schedules, seating charts and chore distribution.
I’d be lying if I said the process didn’t have its hiccups. Change is a constant part of life.
It’s not always the easiest part.
But fighting it is like trying to hold a beach ball under water.
Another lesson learned.
Managing Editor Wendy Victora can be reached at 315-4478 or firstname.lastname@example.org.