“I’m leavin on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again… “
These lyrics have been playing in my head all week. I changed the pronoun to “she,” thinking of my daughter who left yesterday to begin her post-college life in San Francisco, a city that captured her heart and where she hopes to seek fame and fortune.
Not necessarily panning for gold, she’s preparing to take the LSAT, plans to apply to law school “out there” (my words), and enter the world of professional basketball. Not on the court, but behind the scenes.
I tried hard all week not to cry too much. We shipped her car the previous week and it should arrive early next, in time for her and her roommate, a high school friend, to scrounge for furniture from Craigslist and garage sales.
We spent some time unpacking the duffle bags she’d brought home from college in May, and repacking them with what she needs (and can fit.) We tossed a lot: old t-shirts from high school tennis, clothes she’d bought at thrift stores, worn out sneakers and too torn jeans. She began emptying her high school desk, piles of pencils and pens, an alarm clock never used, dried up glue sticks, stacks of index cards, highlighters and staplers. She found folders of her writing from high school—articles she’d written for the school newspaper and essays for her favorite English class. I suggested she not throw everything away; she might want to read it again some day. She agreed, saying, “If I’m famous, they’ll be valuable.”
I admire her confidence and her focus. She’s planned a career path she’s passionate about and one different than all her peers.
As I made her sandwiches for the plane, I thought about all the lunches I’d packed over the years when the kids were at home. Suddenly, there’s no one here. My role changes: no longer needed to chauffeur, cook, and console on a daily basis; no longer needed to hear about each one’s day. To talk to my daughter now, I need to consider a three-hour time difference. Yes, there’s email and video chat. But, still.
I’ve joined the empty nest club; it’s an odd feeling.