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.
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.
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.
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.
Life is as it should be.