On Sunday, we dropped Shannon off at the airport. After a wonderful, family-filled Thanksgiving weekend, it was time for her to head back to Bard, and for us to return to ‘normal’. I was okay until it was time for a final hug as we unloaded her bags. Something about watching my beloved daughter walk away, knowing I wouldn’t see her again for weeks, made it difficult to swallow all of a sudden.
For years and years, we were together always. Then there were overnights with grandmothers or friends, then sleep-away camp (Camp Longhorn, Burnet, TX… best camp ever!), and then visits to cousins out of town. But when a child leaves home for college, it’s the beginning of the final stage of being a parent, and that is the letting go.
It’s now very quiet here, and honestly, I do enjoy my time alone. Still, there is something missing, and that something is Shannon! The cats and dogs seem to feel that loss as much as I do. I’m hearing lots of canine sighs.
I am just now reading carbon copies of letters my mother wrote back when I was growing up. On Sept. 9, 1960, she wrote to her parents, “Carol is in morning kindegarten. She has a new teacher in the school, but she seems most capable. My little doll is just so happy to be there at last. She rode the bus this morning and Tetot took care of her for me, so all went well. It was kind of hard to keep smiling, tho, as I waved goodbye to her!”
And so the cycle of mothers and daughters saying goodbye while smiling (on the outside only!) continues… it is the hardest thing!