Thursday, August 27, 2009
Katie's graduation quilt is finished and waiting to be packed into the car tomorrow, along with all the other necessities of beginning a new life away from the only home she has ever known. The past few days have been filled with her doing laundry, finally taking the time to discard shoes and clothing that are too worn or too small or too unworthy of competing on a college campus.
Last night we went to see Katie's old babysitter, the woman who watched her from six weeks to six years of age. Judy has remained a treasured friend of the family, one who also cannot believe her "baby" is heading off to college. The evening was spent reminiscing, with "Do you remember..." and "Whatever happened to..." filling the air. We laughed as Judy recalled the story of laying a sleeping Katie on the entry foyer rug as she went down in the basement to switch the laundry around. The diaper man rang the doorbell, and while Judy didn't hear him in the basement, Katie woke up and began to crawl around. An alarmed diaper man called the police, thinking the baby had been left home alone. The stories, I think, will warm Katie's heart as the quilt warms her body in the cold Chicago winter.
Tomorrow we'll take our youngest off to the "big city", and we'll return on Sunday to a house filled only with the memories of the laughter and tears of our children. It's a bittersweet feeling, knowing that we have done our part as parents to raise our kids to be confident, self-assured young adults ready to tackle the world, flying from the nest to conquer whatever the world throws at them. Yet having been defined ourselves as "parents" for the past 24 years, it will seem odd not to be in that role on a daily basis. But just as we have enjoyed the new experience of seeing our son as a married adult, and thus gaining a new daughter, I think this time of going back to being just a couple will offer up opportunities for us to explore what roads we wish to travel next.