We dropped Holly off in Dundee, Scotland two weeks ago. Just like that, Jim and I are on our own again after twenty-two years of diapers, daycare, ear infections, tantrums, sleepovers, belly laughs, arguments, sports, dance, music, homework, and everything else about parenting. It sure as hell doesn’t feel like twenty-two years.
September was a weird month. For so many years, it has been a month of new beginnings – of new clothes and school supplies, new teams, and new classes. This year, it felt like an ending. While everyone else was busy getting into the back-to-school spirit, we were dealing with visas, documentation, logistics, and luggage. Taking Holly to Dundee was not a new beginning for us but the end of life as we know it. We will adjust because that is parenting, after all. Parents learn to adapt and adjust to each new stage, and this is our next stage.
Of course, Jim left for a business trip three days after returning home from the UK, so we haven’t figured out this thing called empty nesting. I can say that I am doing a lot better than I thought I would. It helps that Holly left all of her books and art supplies, most of her clothes, shoes, jewelry, and bags. Connor, when he left for school, took everything in his room and all but permanently moved out right then. Knowing her room is essentially the same as always is a great comfort, albeit one I did not expect but welcome all the same.
Thanks to the beauty of the internet and WhatsApp, we text at least once a day, which also helps ease the ache of her absence. It isn’t easy trying to keep a respectful distance, granting her the freedom of attending university away from home while trying to learn about her new life, but I think we are managing it. Or, Holly shares what she wants to share and so forces us to respect that distance, which is so Holly that I can do nothing but laugh and let it go. Still, I do love any time she wants to let us catch a glimpse of that life. Or ask a question. Or say hi. Something she has been pretty good at doing these past two weeks.
She only started classes this week, so it is too soon to say how she is faring. I can say that she found dance classes immediately and discovered that there is a dance competition team as well. During that first welcome week, she also joined at least one club. Between dance, her club, and her seven flatmates, I know she is working on staying busy and making friends. She seems happy, which is all we can ask for now.