Texas and the tire swing

I’ve done some serious crying in my life, but the kind of tears that just slip out and slide down your face uncontrollably are somewhat new to me.  What is this, some kind of emotional leakage?  Would it be too odd to stick a couple of mini-pads under my eyes?

I’ll let you visualize that for a moment…

Okay, our trip to Texas to drop off our only child at college went smoothly.

Move in day was a busy day of well, moving and unpacking and shopping and meeting new friends and meetings, and more unpacking.

Punky and Sweetbuns on Move In Day

Guess who I found? Remember Clubby, the blue bear? Well, joy of joys; she packed him, and her new sock monkey that my dear friend, N. gave her for graduation. (This friend and I call each other sisters separated at birth and she calls Punky, her niece by magic. Sweet, huh?) Anyway, I wrote Punky a little note and stuck it next to Clubby and Monkey in front of her pillows before we left.

Clubby and Sock Monkey go to College!

The speakers at the parent orientation the next day were impressive, and it feels great to know that our child will be around their influence for the next 4 years. There was much humor and positive information offered and even with the laughter; you could hear an occasional sniffle from the audience. I choked a few times, but for the most part kept it together.

One of the speakers offered the words “Trust your parenting.”

This will be my mantra.  

And although I was listening to every word, in the back of my head was a countdown. I knew that our next stop was lunch with our Punky, and then adios.

We had a family hug and said our goodbyes. We took a few photos, and then she closed the door behind us.

Sweetbuns and I were walking with purpose down the walkway/balcony when a huge pain of emotion came up from down inside me somewhere near my heart. It was a week’s worth of tears and it sounded like a cat in heat. Sweetbuns stopped and held me, his eyes rimmed in red, but holding steady. He told me then, and numerous times that day that I had done a great job of parenting our child.

As I had my little emotional breakdown I got tickled thinking how Punky, when she closed that door behind us, probably did a little freedom dance, cranked the music and went about setting up her dorm for her new life sans parents. And honestly, I hope she did.

We walked across campus to our car. Along the way we passed other emotional parents.

The scene of my second breakdown was in the rental car van. I feel sure that the other 8 passengers thought that someone had died. I just couldn’t hold it in. There was something about physically leaving my child in another city and going home without her that pulled a little too hard on my heartstrings.

And for my 3rd emotional breakdown of the day, at the airport, which was brought on by seeing a woman holding a baby girl in her arms, I chose to stand behind Sweetbuns and snot up the back of his shirt like a 6-year-old.

 I left directly from the airport for my parent’s home where I would be sitting with my mother while my father was out town. It was good for me to be needed for a couple more days.

I went out to walk around the yard where I grew up, where I played for hours in the creek, and climbed trees.  I realized that not only was this place full of my childhood memories, but it was also full of Punky’s childhood. She had also climbed many a tree there. So many memories came to me…We would play baseball with a plastic bat and we used an old tree stump, the corner of our garden and 2 trees as bases.

I was doing fine on my little trip down memory lane, and then I saw it.

The tire swing.

The Tire Swing

Welcome emotional breakdown number 4.

My daddy and brother and Sweetbuns had hung that swing for Punky when she was just a little thing, maybe 3 years old. All of us had pushed her, spun her, and sent her to the sky in that old tire.

I could not resist pushing that empty, lichen covered tire swing again, and as I did so, I swear I could hear Punky’s laughter and giggles.

I was alone, so I let the tears come. I pushed that swing until they quit, and I laughed with the memories as they flooded my mind.

It’s all going to be okay. It really, really is.

I’m home now and it’s quiet, but peaceful and I feel good about where my child is.

I’m done crying.

I think.

Life is as it should be.

Carpe Diem,

-Libby Lu


12 thoughts on “Texas and the tire swing

  1. Libby,
    I guess I just magically expected to figure out who you were at that mass of parents in the garden at the President’s house. I am sorry it didn’t happen this time, but maybe next time we’ll figure out a little better system.
    I am doing ok, I guess. Still having one at home, who needs some help as he gets started with middle school, is a big help. I moved myself into my daughter’s room, which meant we had spent weeks clearing it out before she left. Her first chat with me:
    Vivian: true

    it’s really great

    so wonderful

    i love it

    never coming home

  2. Oh, Libby…so sweetly and beautifully written and while reading this, I relived my own experiences leaving my babies at school. I know those kind of tears…they do take a while to stop, but they will…and you will be fine : )
    You HAVE done a wonderful job of parenting!!! Love you

  3. Libby,
    So good to meet you & your husband. We are the couple (California folks) that found you towards the end of the evening..at the Presidents home. We walked back to our cars together :)) I am enjoying your notes ! I can relate to so many things you have shared ! Wow what a week !! Emotions all over the place !! I found myself just smiling today……thinking of my boy!! T is such a special place. I will look for you all… at the parents weekend….only 6 weeks away. Take care !! Keep the tissue in the pocket :)) L, Kathy

    • It was great to meet you and your husband last Thursday night! How is N. settling into TU? Alli is very happy and has talked to us a few times so far. Mainly about money and books, but I really don’t care. It’s good to hear her voice. It was a pleasure to get to know you two a little and we look forward to seeing you again! L., L.

      • Just read your latest 🙂 made me smile ! Our son is doing great !! Having so much fun is what I hear in his voice. He is staying busy…making some new friends. He says he is missing my cooking 🙂 I am sending a box full of goodies today (homemade cookies) & some forgotten items from home. We are trying to resist making calls….Just feels so good to hear his voice !! Take care ~ Kathy

        • So glad C. is doing well. Sent our first care package on Friday. I think like you, I will bake some cookies for the next one. It’s SO hard not to call. I actually DID yesterday, but got her voicemail. She did reply via FB today. I hope you are doing well! – L.

  4. I love your post (even though it made me start crying again). This is my daughter’s first year at Trinity, and my husband and I now have an empty nest too. We, too, feel that Trinity is a wonderful place for her to learn and grow.

    • A big, long distance hug to you. Welcome to the TU family. I’m glad you already know in what a special place your daughter is studying. May your empty nest be full of adventure. It’s okay to cry, btw. It’s a tough adjustment, but it really, really does become easier with time. Hang in there! Thanks for reading, and I hope you find comfort and some laughter with my blog. If your daughter needs anything at TU, I can put her in touch with Alli. She loves making friends.

  5. Love your blog – everything is so true. Love how you put humor where needed and wisdom when necessary. We have a freshman and a sophomore at TU and are empty nester like you. Since last year, I had emotional breakdowns, too many to count! I am a mess; everything and everyone reminds me of my two sons and I cry for each silly reminders. I can’t imagine with an only child – I am probably ‘dead’ by now 😦

    Thank you for sharing us your experience. We can relate. Our best from our home to yours and best of luck – Gladys

    • So nice to meet you, Gladys. Thanks for reading my blog.I’m glad you found some humor and entertainment in it. How wonderful that your boys are at the same school! Isn’t TU a great place for them to be? Our gal is very happy there. That’s what makes it easier…knowing she’s happy and learning and having the time of her life. I want her happiness, so I must move on and let her bloom, and focus more on the good things around me. Know what I mean? I hope your heart heals every day. Boys always love their moms…so know that they will always be back to see you! I hope we can meet at TU one day.
      Best wishes to you and yours, Gladys, and a big hug,


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