I’ll admit there were moments in this past year when I could hardly wait for the August date when we would deliver our daughter to her college dorm. As with all separating teens, even in fairly functional families, there are struggles. Slammed doors. Words spewed that are regretted as soon as they’ve erupted. But leaving this 17 year old standing on a warm and lovely western college campus, all three of us wiping our eyes, tore some breast feathers from me. It will take time for them to grow back. I spent all of the first Sunday apart from her going through old pictures of our small family in different phases of our lives. The living room and kitchen counter lay strewn with photos I used to make her a family album. I let the mess linger being in no hurry to neaten our nest. Feathers everywhere.
Her transition is a bit painful. The roommate match is less than ideal and opportunities for change don't seem to be in the school's philosophy. She calls us in the evening, sometimes buoyed by a workout or funny story to tell, but the fact that she's calling us tells me that she's not happy. How hard it all is to let go and let our children be adults with all of the adult lessons, including episodes of loneliness. But I have faith in who she is and know she'll swim through this. That I'm learning to swim again is something I try to keep hidden from my voice when I talk to her.