My husband and I are recently Empty Nesters. We haven’t really gotten into the swing of it yet. Many parents have to go cold turkey—they take their offspring to the airport, train station, or campus, then there’s a hug and a kiss and another hug (and maybe a few tears) and then they don’t see them again until Thanksgiving…or Christmas. But because both our girls chose to go to college in Seattle, just 30ish miles from home, our experience has been something really different.
And I love it.
For the record, I always expected that our girls would go far away to college. I imagined them in sunnier climes, or in ivy covered campuses on the east coast. Sometimes I even imagined them in Paris or Florence. After all, Jeff and I headed off at 18, seeking adventures, exploring new cities and new countries. In our college years we lived in Austin, Texas, Annapolis, Maryland, Chicago, Illinois, and Grenoble, France. We returned to Dallas for some of the summers, but most of our school breaks we spent in Seattle, falling in love with the city that would later be our home.
All of which is to say, we expected our girls to go far—and the last place I imagined them going to college was Seattle—just a hop, skip and a jump from home.
At the risk of repeating myself: I love it.
I love getting random texts at odd hours of the day asking if I am free for coffee, or lunch, or shopping. I love making their favorite foods because I know they are coming home for dinner. I love having Sunday brunch after church. And I really, really love that sometimes they come to church and we sit together as a family and I hear their sweet voices blending when we sing. And when I tear up (which happens to me in church) they smile indulgently at each other and at me, and give me a Kleenex, and hold my hand.
I feel so incredibly loved and so incredibly blessed. And I am trying not to get too attached to the way things are. Because I know it’s not forever.
My elder daughter, a senior now, is sometimes very wise. This past summer, over coffee, she took my hand in hers, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “Mom, you do know that next year, after graduation, I’m moving to D.C.”
The truth is, I didn’t know. I should have known. After all, she is a political science major. She worked for Senator Patty Murray last year and loved it. And for a young, bright, beautiful woman who thinks politics is the most exciting, invigorating fun ever—D.C. is the place to be. But I had let myself begin to believe that she would stay here forever. I fantasized that she might work for a local politician—maybe even Patty Murray again—and that Seattle would be (forever and always!) home.
But I was really kidding myself. She is ready for adventure. She is ready for something new.
As I let the truth of her words sink in, I decided that my job is to savor every day I have her close, to be in this moment and know how amazing it is. So this is my Friday Favorite: For one more year, both my daughters live close to home. I had breakfast with one yesterday, and I am having lunch with the other today. They are two of my favorite people in all the world. It doesn’t get much better than that.