I’m starting this post on Wednesday evening, just two days before Alison is basically moved out and on her own. She is undeniably fortunate to have great landlords, who will be out of town come June 1st – her official move in date – and who were nice enough to provide her with her keys early, before they depart. They are also going on a walk through with her tomorrow to answer any questions.
By Thursday, yesterday, 1/4 of her possessions were at her new home. She took a significant amount over before work which will now be about 5 minutes away rather than the 30 minutes it has been. The other perk will be the money she saves in gas for her car. I loaded my car up after dinner, along with hers again, and this time almost 1/2 of what she owns left our home.
This morning, Friday, we loaded the last big piece of furniture some odds and ends, the remaining food from her shelf in the refrigerator, and made one last trip. The only thing left to move is her bed. It just wouldn’t fit in either of our SUV’s so some sort of truck is needed. She’s in the process of arranging for that now. She also purchased a small couch. I’ve held onto a large, olive green (I know – let’s throw back to the 70’s shall we) love seat for some time, always assuring her that it could be hers if she wanted it. It’s spent most of it’s life as a cat perch. The top cushions are squishy and as the couch typically sat in front of a window, the cat always loved to curl up and watch the world go by then have the perfect napping place as well. Alison planned to take the behemoth, but we quickly realized that it would never fit through her front (and only) door. So, I still have this lovely olive green couch, should anyone be interested…
Those entries began what I hoped to be a short, lighthearted post highlighting the moving process of the last child to leave the nest and enter the adult world of rental responsibility, and bills and independence. I couldn’t continue it. As I wrote on the final process I realized just how starkly alone I was, sitting at my computer, in my empty home, staring at the pieces of Alison’s bed waiting to be moved today.
It is now Saturday morning. Each moment that passed after Alison left yesterday brought new realizations that I will never have to drive around her Ford Escape parked in the driveway again. I will never have to give over a refrigerator shelf or cupboard for her food again. I will never again see her curled up on that olive green couch, reading or doing crossword puzzles while the cat sleeps on her lap. I will never again smell the scent of her candles wafting down the stairs and colliding with my candle scents to form an imperfect but oddly harmonious mix. I will never hear the upstairs shower turn on again, nor will I hear the sound of her feet on the stairs…the thump of her backpack as she arrives home from work…the creak of the hall coat closet door when she reaches for her jacket. I definitely won’t hear the sound of the tea kettle as often, especially at her customary 3:30 pm tea time. Who will sit with me, watching the news reports of the latest craziness that is our current political scene? Who will freely opine with me on our preference for Bernie, our understanding of the likelihood for Hillary, and who will laugh (and worry) over the joke that is labelled Trump.
I’ve known for a long time that this day was approaching. I have wanted this day to come for her just as it did for her brother and sister, but now there is no next sibling waiting in line to take her place. There is emptiness now, in specific spaces and rooms. There is silence that seems deeper than any ocean. There is joy and pride in my heart trying to surpass the ache, but the ache is winning, and from moment to moment, feels overwhelming.
When she left yesterday, I didn’t say goodbye because I knew that Alison would be back for her bed. I know that she will be back to visit the cat over the summer until work obligations and travel allow Snowflake to settle into her new home as well. I think that saying goodbye will not be an option. It hurts to much to say goodbye. It is too final. I want this moving day to be joyful for her. I want her to see the promise and the possibility ahead.
I want -wish- that she could stay here longer, but wanting and wishing for that is selfish. It was my job to raise her, to create an independent woman, and that is what I did. I learned when her sister and brother left home for the last time that while very hard, this goodbye isn’t forever. It’s just a “so long, see you soon!”
Just as it should be.