I captured this silhouette photo of my first-year college daughter when she didn’t know I was looking. Her sweet face was in soft repose, and there was a slight smile on her lips, no doubt a reaction to a friend’s text. She was peaceful; no worry, no hurry. She looked less like the adult she’s become, and more like my little girl.
Oh. My. Heart.
Just a few minutes later, we stood at Las Vegas’s Bellagio Fountains and listened to Elton John’s song, “Your Song.”
With my wife on one side and my daughter on the other, I got a little misty as the refrain played.
♪ ♫ ♬…How wonderful life is while you’re in the world…♪ ♫ ♬
Indeed it is.
My colleger has been home in my world for a lengthy winter break session. And now, after 41 days, 16 hours, 30 minutes, 13 seconds, she’ll be returning to the world – her college world – next Sunday.
During a recent snuggle-n-convo session, she turned to me and asked, “Ok to say something a little controversial?”
Me: “Of course.”
My first reaction was a silent internal twinge. *Ouch.*
But then, I hugged her, and believe it or not, people, I agreed.
Her squad, her college, the world, they all need her back. Oh, it’s been a good run, for sure. We’ve had adventures, vacationed in Las Vegas, fine dined, and talked non-stop. Yet, we’ve also been comfortable in the quiet times, too. I think that’s a sign of a good relationship, right?
But, alas, her place is no longer here. Or at least it’s not for any extended period of time. She has outgrown the fish bowl which is our tiny podunk town, er “village” of 13,000 souls. If I’m completely honest, she’s outgrown us a bit, too. She’s morphed into a big-city philosopher who thinks the greatest form of fun is to is discuss Shakespeare plays ad nauseam. Um.
So, I understand her need to return to the niche she has created, the home she made all on her own. What an exciting time for her. If I’m honest, it’s an exciting time for all of us.
At the end of our chat, I reminded her no matter where she goes, I’m here for her. But yes, she needs to go. All 1,137 miles away from me. And soon, too, because she’s too big, too bold, too smart, too brave for this itty bitty existence.
I can almost feel her wilting as the days stretch on. She longs for her friends and the intellectual stimulation that college provides. And, me? I am sucking up every smile, every “I love you,” every kiss on the cheek, and every hug on the fly. I’m trying to bank them until I see her again. And rather than wallowing in sadness, I find myself filled with pride and happiness that she’s found her people and her place.
And I take comfort in knowing we’ll always be a part of her world.
So, truly, the greatest gift we can give her now, is to take her to the airport next Sunday…and, look forward to her return for Spring Break.
Rinse, Repeat, Sigh.
Deb Nies is a contributing author to It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure. Her writing has appeared in Our Wisconsin, Modern Bliss, among others. Deb was a proud cast member of the Listen to Your Mother Show – Madison in both 2011 and 2017.
She and her wife, Linda live in the only Waunakee in the world, Wisconsin. They are new empty nesters, as beloved daughter (Hannah) is a first-year at Wellesley College. In real life, Deb is a Social Media & Marketing Consultant, a foodie, an adventurer, and an infrequent blogger. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.