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#university

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A few short weeks ago, our daughter was graduating from high school. This morning, we flew her halfway across the country to begin her freshman year in college. Her older brother came out of his room to say goodbye, singing, “Leavin’ on a jet plane, don’t know when you’ll be back again…” We laughed. It cut the tension we were all feeling.

I woke early. My husband said I snored so he ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜บ kicked me all night. I’m surprised I slept so deeply. Ughโ€”I’ll have to start using my automated snore pillow again. 

Welcome to midlife!

As I hurried around the house before everyone got up, trying to clean up for ‘who knows why’ while we’re gone, all I could think about is how messy my closets are.

How did they get so unorganized? Why didn’t I organize them when we were in lockdown? I had all that time, and I didn’t get anything cleaned or organized. ๐˜•๐˜ฐ ๐˜”๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ ๐˜’๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ-๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ.

I know what I am doingโ€”I am avoiding “it.” ๐˜ ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ ๐˜ข ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด.

I’m avoiding thinking about the giant void my daughter leaves behind. The one filled with infectious laughter and the funny, contorted faces she makes when she springs to life ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ค ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š ๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ.

And the other void where she enters a room at full strideโ€”in mid-sentenceโ€”spilling the latest tea. She hates it when I need her to back it up a little, rewind. “Mom, I already told you about so and so…” ๐ผ ๐‘˜๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ค, ๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘š๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘”๐‘Ž๐‘–๐‘›, ๐ผ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘˜ ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘š๐‘ฆ๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘™๐‘“.

Noise and commotion also have a way of filling up spaces. My daughter’s girlfriends came over last night to wish her well and keep her company while she packed. I could hear them laughing and stomping up and down the stairs as they helped her load everything into the car for our early morning departure.

Then she yelled, “We’re headed to Taco Bell.” Laughter, chatter, and patter of feet shuffled out the doorโ€”then silence. ๐˜‹๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ.

This is how it will be, quieter, for a while anyway.

Her two brothers are still at home. They will easily fill some of the spaces she has left behind. Their friends will come over, and jokes and laughter will fill the airโ€”the TV will inevitably drone on.

The boys each have their own unique way of filling the spaces in our home. It will be comforting to have them home for at least a few more weeks.

But there are some spaces only a daughter, our only daughter, can fill. The space where she’ll let me hold her when she’s sad and hug her until she pulls away with a snarky, “Okay, now, Mom.” As if I didn’t know I was holding her just past ‘comfortable’ on her hug-o-meter.

It’s a good thing she picked Texas. Texas is a big state with lots of open spaceโ€”she’s going to need all of it. I can’t wait to hear about all the people she meets, the subjects she studies, and the places she goes.

Facetime, family-group texting, and eagerly awaited phone calls will bridge some of the space between us.

She’ll come home for the holidays. Her laughter will again fill the house. From experience with her older brother coming home from college, I know that some spaces will be forever changed. Still, new and exciting dimensions will continue to be added.

There is no holding her back, even if I wanted toโ€”which I don’t. The world is a big place, and I’m excited to watch how she chooses to fill up her own unique spaces in her life.

With much love to our daughter, Mom XOXO

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