This week has been a blur. I went straight from the Texas trip to stay with my mother for a couple of nights, and then into a work week from you know where. I’ve hardly seen Sweetbuns.
My day gig is at a large and lovely university in Nashville. And while I was getting my child settled into her new surroundings 1,000 miles away, thousands of students were converging upon the campus where I work.
It’s a joyful time of high energy. The kids are excited, apprehensive and nervous. Over the years, I have given out hugs to kids who were homesick, and once I even put a band-aid on a student’s finger. Mainly, I shuffle papers for them, but the personal stuff is what I like best. All I can think is that I would want someone to be nice to my kid if she needed a mom on campus.
In years past, I have enjoyed watching the new students and thought how my daughter would be like them one day. And boom, here we are. My child is also a freshman on a new campus in a new city with new friends and instructors and a new room.
This week I have felt a need to talk to as many of the first year students as I can. Somehow this makes me feel closer to Punky. I especially love it when I meet students from Texas. Yesterday, a girl came in who had on the same perfume that Punky wears. I wanted to say something, but was afraid she’d think I was some sort of perve. I see girls who remind me of Punky. So, while I’m chatting it up with the 1st year students who come into my office each day, I think of her and wonder how she is coping with her new surroundings.
When we left her last week, we told her that we’d let her make the first contact, that we would not pester her with texts and calls.
Nah, that didn’t work.
As soon as we touched down in Nashville, Sweetbuns asked me to text her and tell her we were home safe. I used HIS phone. Why? Because I’m pretty sure she had a personal bet that I would text within 6 hours. Surprisingly, she texted right back and was kind with her reply. I figure that when they were telling us at orientation how we needed to go light on our students during this time of transition. They were telling our children to go light on their parents and humor the texts and calls that would be coming in.
They have our number.
SO, over the past week, Punky has gotten in touch. Not really to see how we were or to chat, but to ask about her text books.
The book purchase was her first major task to handle alone. I wanted SO badly to just order them all and have them sent to her. I felt like I needed to take this stress off of her. And I do believe she was pretty stressed, since she did call several times concerning this matter. But, I stood back. I knew she needed to figure this out herself. She needed to make sure she had the correct editions. She needed to find the bargains. She needed to decide if she should rent or buy used or buy new. I knew good and well that this was one of those minor events that would make a huge difference in her growing independence. We let her deal with it.
Thursday, I received a text saying that she had spent X amount on her books since she could rent some of them, and that she saved herself some big bucks in doing so. She sounded empowered, proud and pleased. Although I figure she actually feels angry, bitter and frustrated at us for what she perceives as our lack of help. She’ll get it one day. She’ll see that we were actually helping her grow up.
Okay, so that short guilt trip is over.
And here we are the 2 of us in our empty nest for our first weekend together. I have one word: Sex.
Seriously, it’s different, but you know what? It’s not that bad. Not bad at all. (NO, Stop it! I’m not talking about sex now; I’m talking about the quiet house.) Of course I miss Punky. We both do. But it’s kind of nice to not feel like I’m on duty 24/7. I even sat out on the deck this evening with a drink and did some reading 100% guilt free. Normally, I would make sure the house was uber clean for Punky and her visitors. I really don’t care today. Let the dust bunnies breed.
I have visions of Punky off in her new place, doing her own thing and having the time of her life. And I am fine here, doing my own thing.
I bet she’s reading right now.
She said she had a book to read by Monday.
The child has always loved books. She was reading at age 3, and some of her first words were: Reeead! And Boook, Boook! Both were requests. She wanted to be read to all the time. And we read to her all the time. When she started school, we had to put a limit to our bedtime reading so she could get some sleep. As she got older, we read the whole Harry Potter series numerous times together. The last time she asked me to read to her was not that long ago (I’m glad she doesn’t read my blog!) when she was sick. Reading to Punky has been one of my greatest joys. It was such a time of sharing and bonding and learning.
Punky is out riding her bike in the cul-de-sac in front of our house. I was doing dishes. I peeked out to check on her and realized she was reading a book while riding her bike!! I had instant visions of the ER and major dental work. I ran out to tell her to stop, that one should never read and ride. But, and I know this will crack up my friends; I grabbed my camera on the way out the door, and got a photo before I fussed.
Warning: Do not read and ride. ALWAYS have a designated reader!
Here is my prayer for Punky: That the enormous quantity of books that she will be required to read in the next 4 years will not dampen her love for the written word. I also hope that sometimes when she is reading, she has flashbacks of our special reading times. And when she’s a self-reliant middle-aged adult, I want her to remember the time she was a freshman in college and her parents were mean and made her deal with purchasing her books on her own.