Day-by-day, our den is filling up with moving boxes and assorted belongings as the youngest makes preparations to pull up stakes.
“This is the staging area,” my husband says, as we survey the encroaching clutter threatening to overtake the kitchen.
In a couple of weeks, he will organize it in meticulous fashion, stacking it like a Tetris video game in the back of a 15-foot U-Haul.
I’ve watched him do this before — when the kids went to college and for seven of our own moves before that. He’s gotten better with time. This ought to be a snap.
The cyclical “fall” tradition that includes the purchasing of extra-long dorm sheets and pricey meal plans is playing out for families throughout the country. Come spring it happens in reverse.
But not this move.
This is the “big” move. Our youngest is heading out-of-state, and she has no plans to boomerang back to reclaim our new guest room.
So it’s an ending.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. This must be hard for you,” some tell me with knowing sorrow in their eyes.
To be sure, I am wrestling with a sense of impending ... freedom.
Like I said, we’ve done this before. We know it’s time.
A parent’s road is an ever-unfolding journey of letting-go moments.
We have to trust that our kids will be okay when we send them to kindergarten, hand them the car keys, leave them in a college dorm, or pack a truck and bid adieu with tear-stained cheeks and the thought that it’s really all for the best.
She’s seeking greener pastures, and we get to figure out what comes next now that it’s just the two of us.
Like traveling. Or buying a duvet cover for the new guest room.
Gray and white stripes would be nice. Wouldn’t have to repaint the walls.
Greece, Scotland or a train ride through Canada would make for great adventure, even though we know in our hearts the next trip will be to wherever one of the kids is living.
That’s okay. Greener pastures are pretty cool.
“You’re taking this well,” say friends who know the worrywart side of me.
Yes, I am.
You see, there’s this tracking app. For humans. Well, actually smartphones.
We took a test run of the “Find My Friends” app back in June when the youngest ventured on a three-state road trip to look for new digs.
You just download it onto your smartphones, and you can see your kid’s whereabouts as long as they have their phone with them, which is pretty-much 24/7.
Surprisingly, the youngest is okay with that. It beats getting worrisome texts and voicemails from me. And she’s finally given up on the, “I’m an adult. You don’t have to worry about me” retort that’s delivered with a well-played eye-roll.
Like that’s ever going to happen.
She’s even okay when I occasionally send borderline creepy texts.
“You in a bar? Cover your drink.”
“What are you picking up in Krogers? How are the prices?”
“How do you know ..." she asks, before remembering the app. Then she laughs it off, rolling with it in grown-up fashion.
While this might seem like parenting overkill, as time goes by, I find myself not checking in as often. Just knowing that I can is enough to quell the concern.
She’s ready. So am I.
Let’s do this.