Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Once again, we are empty nesters. Our over-achieving roller coaster that is our daughter has taken off, spreading her wings towards parts north (150 miles to be exact) as she prepares to enter her first year of medical school. Once again, I am at loose ends -- adrift as I try to figure out how to handle the empty, now oh so quiet room across the hall . Empty room, hole in my heart -- twas ever thus. The same thing. It does not change with age. It does not get easier. Off she goes, taking my heart, my peace of mind -- leaving behind a void that will take time to fill with the fluff of nothing important. An impossible void. An un-fillable vacuum.
Only children have it rough. They are the sole focus of a parent's attention from the moment of their first indrawn breath -- from the first moment a parent is aware of their existence actually. Now, rather than staring at the crib to see the small movements that mark a baby's shallow breathing, I focus on my own deep breath and the knot in the pit of my stomach. Rather than hers? Something I am once again not used to doing...
Throughout this past gap year in my daughter's academic schedule, I have grown used to having her around. I've been lulled into somnolence -- having her in the house, coming and going, hopping around the house, dancing in her room, playing her music, laughing loudly as she reads something funny on the internet, plopping down between us on the sofa to watch a film, helping with dinner.
Throughout this 400 day idyll, the three of us have lived through the agonizing roller-coaster that is the medical school application process. The initial exciting anticipation followed by seemingly interminable waiting, interviews, more waiting, more interviews, insecurity, frustration, disappointment, anger. Then comes the icing on the cake -- joy, excitement and pride followed by the fly in the ointment -- that inevitable final preparation until her car backs down the driveway towards her own life -- this time as a medical student.
And so, the cycle begins anew. It's another sunny Sunday in August -- and she's gone again on her own life's journey.
My husband says that we have done our job well. We have raised an intelligent, thoughtful, independent, yet loving young woman who lives her life, loves her freedom, yet calls us every day. She does her thing but still lets us know that she loves us -- that we matter. We let her know the same. We are connected and will be -- I hope -- throughout our lifetimes.
Twas ever thus...