“Do you think this is it?” The Husband asked, a little sadly, the first night.
“I do,” I said.
I could feel the regret tinged with resolution stuck in my throat.
It really is for the best; the natural order of things. Kids are supposed to grow up, go to college, come home after graduation, making their parents miserable as Mom and Dad navigate the transition from parent to interested bystander.
Our daughter, The Girl, has just left home, at the age of 24, to start her new adult life.
On the one hand, we, The Parents, were ready. The makeup of her old bedroom—our new media room—carpet, surface dust so thick, I actually wrote “clean me” into it; some sort of hair product from a can that left a fine, white spray on the calming, moss green walls; the coming and going at all hours; the bored tone taken when asked questions about plans for the evening, or for a lifetime.
On the other hand, the desire to keep her in bubble wrap, to keep her safe for the rest of her life, I mean my life. I know once I’m gone, that bubble wrap will be shed in record, bubble-popping time.
She would get irritated with us for calling out “Be safe!” as she was on her way out the door, as if that could actually magically shield her from any harm. We thought so, and that was all that mattered. It was all the reassurance we had.
The Husband and I would rationalize that no matter how unappreciative of our love we perceived her to be, we would one day experience the scene in A Christmas Story when adult Ralphie, who looks remarkably like the kid version, comes home, sporting dark glasses and tapping a red-tipped cane down the sidewalk and up to the front porch. Opening the door, the parents fall to their knees, begging forgiveness for inflicting him with “soap poisoning” from a cake of Lifebouy, inserted into a fresh mouth, and causing his blindness.
FYI: We are are Ralphie in this twisted scenario.
We will forgive her. We will say that we understand. We will martyr better than anyone has ever martyred before.
I know that we are not the first parents to go through this, and hopefully, for countless parents out there, grinning and bearing with the young-adult-home-from-school syndrome, not the last.
But that doesn’t make it any easier.
Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” be damned; I just can’t hear that song right now, and yet I swear I’ve heard it on the radio no less than 17 times. It’s been less than a week, and I’ve managed to return the room mostly back to its pre-disaster state, so I’m sort of reveling in that right now.
I want to know when I will feel a little better. I want to know that she is happy and excited for her new life. What I really want to know is, do you think I can get a two-for-one deal on the dark glasses?
Email Kelly Sinon at [email protected]
She would get irritated with us for calling out ‘Be safe!’ as she was on her way out the door, as if that could actually magically shield her from any harm. We thought so, and that was all that mattered.