A scene, I imagine, similar to dens, living rooms, front halls, basements, and garages in countless homes across the nation.
A new foam mattress topper. A new mattress pad. New clothes. New boots. Stacks of fresh laundry. Towels. Pillows. A tennis racquet waiting to be restrung. New tennis sneakers. The guitar. The winter coat and sweaters packed from the dry cleaners. Extra hangers. A fan. Duffle bags soon to be filled.
And my stomach is starting to ache.
My daughter is returning to college in two days. I offered to drive the nine hours to Ohio with her and fly back. This year, she wants to take herself; there’s not enough room in the car for either a friend with his things or me. So I won’t make her bed; a ritual I felt left a “mom loves you stamp” in her room. It made saying goodbye easier.
Her freshman year, we drove her in the old mini-van. We set up her room, (I made her bed), and hung towel bars and a mirror.
Last year, we each took three hour shifts at the wheel and again helped her unpack. And I made her bed.
Jane Alexander played the First Lady. At one point, when their six offspring were dashing out, she said, “we’re always saying goodbye to the children.”
The line stuck, though I didn’t have any kids of my own then.
I know how she felt.
*Disney’s 1940 Fantasia