We watch them come and we watch them go

Barely home a few weeks and the wandering archaeologist has moved on again.

I can say one thing for this youngest child; she is determined to make her way on her own.

Discussions just after the end of high school regarding college living arrangements brought her to the final option of living with her sister and brother-in-law 5 minutes from her college campus. She passed those 2 semesters living reasonably comfortable and happy in their extra bedroom. For many reasons, both financial and personal, she was adamantly opposed to living on campus. It of course was highly encouraged by the college. One for reasons of much more money entering the coffers of the college bank account and two, because of that socialization process higher ed deems necessary for the well-rounded, successful adult they bring into the world.

Her rather non-traditional status of entering as a Junior rather than a Freshman pulled a little weight and her simple refusal to live the dorm life cemented her final place off campus.

Fast forward to a summer spent among new friends and colleagues in the desert lands of Oregon and suddenly isolation needs have tempered a bit. Finding herself living closely among males and females alike with only thin tent walls separating individual environments and taking communal showers behind a homemade walled structure that probably had little resemblance to any sort of modern bathroom facility has opened this students eyes to the joys of living among one’s peers or as I like to call it: The quintessential college living experience.

This particular child of mine has a unique habit of researching, planning and then simply announcing out of the clear blue that she has accomplished a life changing activity all perfectly well and good on her own and will not be letting the door smack her on the rear end as she exits her childhood home with little to no fanfare.

In other words from the moment she checked back into her upstairs bedroom after returning from Oregon her secret mission was to find a place, other than home, to live during this her final year of college. The reality is that this really isn’t surprising as it was clear she truly enjoyed the freedom of living on her own and did a pretty darn good job of it. What was different the first time around was that she wasn’t paying rent, wasn’t faced with doing all her own food shopping and cooking (sister and hubby shared food and meals often) and she wasn’t working at three jobs just to have the privilege of living independently.

Of course, this life changing event was taking place right around the time this new grandma was preoccupied with the birth of her new granddaughter so with a few ground rules laid down, the biggest being that her grades cannot drop and her studies take precedence over everything else, plus she has to make it on her own with only a small stipend from mom and dad for groceries each month, our youngest has moved into her dream college student home away from home.

The husband, who is the only one of the two of us who has actually dared to step foot into this new living space per my strong need to make sure she really wasn’t secretly planning to pitch her Oregon tent in some random open field, described the abode as “looking like a haunted house.”

Okay, I can live with that. At least he didn’t come home and say it looked like a crack house or a brothel. Or note a strong chemical smell emanating from the property as he arrived while roommates were cooking in hidden corners of the structure.

This child is really pretty level-headed, but also still relatively naive in many ways. I think it’s possible to be both isn’t it? She is smart, as in intelligent, but still not world wise, still not completely mature. She also possesses the personality to live on a whim. To literally throw a tent in her car, stop on the road somewhere and be completely happy. She can live without, reveling in the fact that she simply exists. Those are traits I envy but at the same time our world isn’t all goodness and light and honesty and truth. Some aspect of sanity has to reign supreme and because she is still under my proverbial thumb as it were being just 19 years old I have some say in what she does especially since her education is being funded in part by my paycheck.

When all was said and done she rounded up a few friends and packed up her Jeep with the basics meaning her mattress, linens, clothing, desk, stereo, incense and every single vinyl album she owns and moved out into the world on Wednesday. She will now be sharing a home with a number of fellow college students in an area that she loves, commuting to classes and work, paying rent, paying lots for gas to fill her guzzler of a Jeep and I am sure just generally feeling ecstatic beyond belief that she is on her own.

She knows the door is always open, her room hasn’t and won’t be turned into something resembling a craft room or grandchild’s playroom in the near future and if things go awry, she isn’t locked into a long-term lease.

And, like every other one of my children I know she will more than likely return come the end of May 2013 when college graduation has come and gone, a good portion of her income has ended and the reality of an adult job search is looming over her head. Until then I can’t think of anything more exciting and of greater educational benefit than having a glimpse into the real world of life as an independent adult.




2 thoughts on “We watch them come and we watch them go”

    1. Very welcome. Somewhere inside I always thought that letting the last one go would be a piece of cake, like I would have gained so much wisdom from the other two moving into their own life that this one would just go and I would be unfazed. Talk about naivety! Circumstances in our lives are happening at warp speed right now and while I can’t say I was ready for this, in this case, with this child, this is absolutely the best road she could have taken. She needs to see real life and I need to distance myself as I move into new challenges in my own life. Ideally, perfect timing for both of us!


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