Things not finished, not sorted, not completed. But we’re getting close. College visits, applications, decisions, deposits…..deep breath: my youngest child is about to go off into the world.
“This is harder for you than when I went to college,” my oldest notices.
“That was hard too,” I say and hug her tight.
But this does feel harder. Maybe because I’m leaving too and so we are becoming three separate people, moving from now on in our own individual directions.
I’m packing up our little house in Vermont. We’ve lived in a lot different houses and apartments over the years and so some of our things have been in boxes for a long time. We go through our things, find memories that make us laugh, pieces of ourselves in unfinished knitting projects and miniature watercolor paints and tiny stuffed mice families made of felt. We find cards from Grandma and sometimes a little money falls out, things forgotten, overlooked, things longed for, a harmonica of someone who has died, the memory of his music on warm summer nights by the river.
What will each of us take? What will we leave behind?
I’ve always tried to create “home” no matter where we went. Our traveling and our adapting became the way we experienced the world as a threesome. Together we were comfortable in London and in Ljubljana and Southern California and New York City. My children learned how to travel, how to be in different cultures, how to make “home” in new places.
A key to it was routine. The places would change, but our habit life remained the same. Rituals like dinner, bath, pjs, books, bed……dinner, bath, pjs, books, bed….. The same (almost) every night, little things that gave them (and me) a sense of order, of knowing what to expect at the end of the day.
Routine still helps. For me, the morning is the most important because I find it hard to think before a certain hour. Coffee, meditation, brush teeth, walk dog, feed dog, wake child up, make breakfast, pack her lunch…..Coffee, meditation, brush teeth, walk dog, feed dog, wake child up, make breakfast, pack her lunch…..
I don’t know what my routines will be when both of my children are away at college and I am in a new place and my little dog is not with me right away. My routines will be just for me.
I can’t even imagine.