by Conlee Ricketts
It’s about to get quiet here.
A different quiet.
I work all day, so does my daughter. So I’m familiar with “that” quiet. In the evenings, she watches YouTube, goes out with friends, or is scrolling her phone. So I’m familiar with “that” quiet.
She’s nineteen and the quiet of essentially being ignored but present with her is something I’ve grown accustomed to over the past four years.
In two days, I help her load up and move out to start her world. It’s an exciting time for her. Planning her color schemes, future furniture, all things decorating. She will be nearby, not a huge geographic distance. She still “needs” me; I helped her learn how to set up utilities for the first time, renters insurance, sign a lease, etc. But once she is out on her own, I’m pretty sure she will realize she can handle so much more on her own than she thought she could, and I’m excited to see her realize that.
My emotions waffle back and forth. Some days this week I’m wanting to rip the bandage off. Wanting moving day to come and go, so I can start my shuffling through the house re-arranging my things to fill the empty spaces she left behind. Both physically and metaphorically, I guess. It’s a sad form of being excited for her, and me just wanting to get it over with, but also wanting to travel back in time and have more time with her.
Other days I’m lost wondering, “What the fuck?” I’ve had nineteen beautiful, stressful, amazing, years with her as the daily center of my purpose and attention, and WHAM! in one 24-hour period it ends, and I have permission for it to end, but it seems really unfair!
She leaves the nest.
It’s the permission to let her go. Go and learn how to be an adult through trial and error, small successes, and big failures. While I sit and hope her failures are nowhere as big as mine were at nineteen, I am grateful for the relationship we built over these nineteen years. She’s leaving because she’s excited to start a life, not because I’m forcing her to leave or because she can’t stand me. I consider myself very lucky.
Of course, I know logically that our relationship doesn’t “end.” Our relationship however, will never be the same...so in a way... yes it does end this week. We won’t return to the flow of our old life; we will need to build a new flow. My logical understanding of this is helpful but doesn’t make this week any less fucking sad.
So for the next two days, I just keep my head down, do my work, offer suggestions here and there, and wait for moving day to be over. I return the moving truck and drive home alone.
What happens next is really up to me.