Monday, October 31, 2016

Three's Not a Crowd

My daughter called me the other day to tell me she'd met with her advisor to pick out her classes for next semester. She was pleased with how the meeting had gone and excited to tell me about her new schedule -- the one that would start in January.

How did this happen? Weren't we just decorating her dorm room a couple of weeks ago, trying not to complain about the heat in a dorm that still, in the twenty-first century, did not come equipped with air conditioning?

Sort of. Parent and Family Weekend was just a couple of weeks ago, and we were in her dorm room, swapping out summer clothes for winter. That night, the room was a cozier temperature than it had been in August and, although none of us said so, we were counting the days until Thanksgiving, spurred by the task of making train reservations.

Has it really been almost nine weeks?

It's not that I don't miss her. We've just all done what we're supposed to do. Gone to work. Gone to classes. Fallen into a new routine.

A new normal.

Discovering that new can be normal is kind of cool. Who knew my husband and I could be a family of two again without tap dancing around a big, empty hole in the house? Who knew that we could morph back into a family of three as though two months hadn't passed, and then step back again, even as we counted the days until Thanksgiving break?

Thousands -- or more likely millions -- of parents knew this. And they could have told us. And, on some level, we'd have believed them. But, as the old saying goes, "seeing is believing."

Time passes -- quickly sometimes, and, other times, excruciatingly slowly. Texts are exchanged, along with the occasional phone call, and conversations shift as new roles and new boundaries are established.

But life is good. She is happy. And mostly, so are we.

But the best news of all is, despite the distance, we remain a family.

Of three.

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