The morning my baby daughter flew to Rome I made garden omelets. I picked sunburst-yellow cherry tomatoes off the sprawling vines, clipped fresh parsley from the herb garden, chopped soft mozzarella, scrambled the farm eggs. I felt slowed, or old, or all of the above, heating the olive oil, watching it shimmer in the rising heat of the day, while above me the thump of discarded shoes and her heavy sweater trunk lid assured me she was not ready in the slightest.
Of course there is nothing baby about her, but she is the youngest, and each ‘first’ for her is a ‘last’ for our family. I would like to say by now – 27 years of child raising, packing, sending off – we are good at it. But each one of them is different. For my youngest, I will make some comfort food, toss up the stairs a few more ‘don’t leave your room like that for three months!’ and pet the sighing dog. I can already feel the silence, so abrupt after a summer of slamming doors and lost car keys. But I am not sad.
I am happy when my kids are happy. No one was more surprised than me when I realized this: That instead of putting a pillow over my head when the first one of them moved away, I took a deep breath and took up what I wanted to accomplish in this next decade. We are now far-flung, multi-lingual and the holder of many frequent flyer points. But we thrive. And I am so proud of each and every one.
Other than the forgotten wallet in the back seat, the departure went off without too much drama. The room is a mess. The dishes are dry. The dog is curled at my feet, resigned she is left with me (read: less treats now), I can actually hear the birds sing outside. My baby has had her first ‘limon gelato’ and registered for classes. I am happy.
Alexandra Dane’s previous posts can be found in archive at her website here.