Posted by: jeannineatkins | July 8, 2008


Em and her new friend have their schedules – half visual design, half English and math — and they wrote and printed resumes they’re dropping off at desirable shops. Now I’m leaving the room where I plunked sunflowers in a smog-colored vase and heading back to the land of less impressive handbags and tans, more ornery weather (ninety degrees this week instead of seventy), and my husband, my desk, my post office, my yoga mat, our dogs, the libraries, and a routine. (Last week I signed a contract to teach children’s lit as a visiting instructor at Mount Holyoke, so I’ll have fun prepping for that.) Em’s friend seemed glad to have a temporary mom on the west coast, while hers tended to brothers back home, and one that can be plunked down with her laptop or notes for any necessary amount of time. I moved ahead perhaps twenty pages in my book, though I’m leery of counting, as the subtraction can sometimes look bigger than the addition. Never mind, judicious cutting matters, too, and pre-flight I’m jittery enough without looking too hard at what’s judicious. I’ll get me and my pages back to Massachusetts and have a quiet house to figure it out.

No more sidewalks where a woman wearing small works on art on her feet strolls with a cat slung over her shoulder. No more hearing several languages spoken every day or views of thousands of homes. Instead I’ll get trees and to say, “What a great day,” again, which I feel kind of silly saying here, when the weather is perpetually great. I’m going to miss my girl but I treasured these days when she was close. The worry lines over my nose are lighter instead of deeper. Saying good-bye in bits and pieces has felt sort of like too slowly peeling off a Band-Aid, but the glimpses of her growing up, looking confident and strong and kind, not to mention hauling out the trash, were worth it.



  1. I still have a largish chunk of years before I get to this point. Part of me looks ahead to it, just hoping he’ll be at a strong, ready place in his own life, like your daughter, and that there will be so much good mixed in with seeing him leave. And part of me just can’t even catch a glimpse of who he’ll be (or who I’ll be) when we get there.
    It seems like you have done a wonderful job keeping her close emotionally, so that she can physically take her leave.

  2. Is this just for the summer or the fall semester as well?
    You’re so darn poignantly rational I feel like I should keep reading this to try to stop getting weepy at the thought of my daughter leaving in three years.

  3. What a lovely journey it has been watching you help her on to this next stage of life. And yes, how rational it seems you have been through it all. It sounds like you have raised a wonderful daughter. Well done, mom. Well done.

  4. Ooh, me too! Waving hand wildly. I’ll be teaching Writing Children’s Lit at Champlain College in the Fall. We should compare notes (and syllabi!).

  5. Days go fast, don’t they? College shopping here. Roots and wings, J- that’s what we give them…. *hug* See you for lunch soon!

  6. Thanks for the reassuring comments, Becky. It is pretty impossible to see ahead even now, so I guess we should try to enjoy the ride!

  7. The fashion school is run on quarters, so she’ll be back at the end of September — yay! — and then begin again.
    Darn poignantly rational is very sweet, and elegantly phrased… but… there have been tears.

  8. Thanks, Susan. We do our best.

  9. Tanya, oh your lucky students! My class is actually studying the literature –Charlottes Web, Alice in Wonderland, C.S. Lewis, Goodnight, Moon, etc. — rather than writing for, but I will do a bit of memoir and creative writing, so yeah, maybe in August we can swap some ideas.

  10. Re: your posts
    Ten! What a great age! I am sure you are relishing, but I guess reminders never hurt. And forming friendships with her friends’ moms — I have a few I meet with now and then, now that our daughters are off, and hearing about other adventures, triumphs, setbacks, etc. helps.

  11. College shopping — who is more nervous, you or L? It’s a tender summer. Playing catch up work now that I’m home, but will be ready to play a little soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: