It's been awhile. Please forgive me. To be honest, the milestone Third Dad and I just lived through is one I've dreaded for many years, and I needed to live through it privately.
It was both exhiliarating and incredibly sad to watch The Girl take the reins of her new campus life. Her confidence is inspiring, and allowed us to return home assured that she'll be just fine. With each report, it's clearer and clearer that she was really ready for this.
Our trip was great fun. We moved The Girl into her dorm on the afternoon of our arrival, and it went very quickly. We shopped that evening for all the stuff we couldn't bring with us (which begs the question, "How the heck will we get it back here next summer??"), giving us the following day to explore and hang out. The Girl was booked on day 3, so we took off for a visit with a friend who lives a few hours away, returning the following day for a short visit before our departure.
I had been dreading that good-bye for months. It was harder than I'd thought, but in a different way than I anticipated. I had expected a lot of tears and emotion, but there was actually little of that. Instead, there was a kind of quiet sadness that has stayed with me all week. We had a couple of hours to kill before our flight, and ended up driving aimlessly around the city. I kept hoping she'd call to tell us she'd forgotten something, could we bring it to her? But no, there was no call.
I know that that's as it should be. It's time for us to release the reins and let her go, just as we did her brother. He, however, is a short drive away; matter of fact, we'll be seeing him in a week or so, to bring down a couple of things he didn't bring when he moved into his townhouse in August. It's very comforting to know that if I wake up any morning and want to see him, all it will take is a couple of hours in the car to make that happen.
But The Girl's on the other side of the country. Trips home will be few and far between; the current plan is that she won't be home until December. That makes this harder - that and the fact that she's the youngest.
You know what was interesting about all of this? How far from adoption this particular experience has been. There are a million connections to adoption I could be making, and probably will be making soon, but they simply weren't there while we lived it.
For these few days, I was just another mom watching her baby take important steps toward adulthood. The Girl took them in great strides, with one quick look over her shoulder to smile a last good-bye.
We watched until the little figure we've loved all these years walked into the distance and out of our view. As she faded at last into a tiny speck in the crowd, what I felt most of all was emptiness.
Which makes sense, of course. She had taken my heart with her.