Letting Go

2 Mar

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Literally today is the first time I’ve had most of a day to do my work (other than teach my class). I haven’t posted in a little more than two weeks. I’ve been so overwhelmed with familial responsibilities I’ve felt like a triage nurse.

I don’t want this post to be just me complaining, which I could too easily do, but who wants to hear someone else bitch. You all have your own myriad obligations and complaints, too.

I want you to read my posts because what I write resonates, enlightens, makes you laugh or just makes you feel some kind of way.

A week ago, I moved my Dad from my home into an assisted living facility. The whole thing was tough: making the decision to do it, finding the right place, doing all the medical, administrative and financial stuff, physically moving his stuff (thanks Cliff and Jason).

Thankfully, he’s adjusting nicely and the director of the memory ward is “in love with him.” The nurses and aides are fussing over him. My handsome, charming dad is soaking up all of it.

The rough adjustment period I thought he’d have didn’t happen. So far, so good. I should be able to relax, right? Well, I haven’t quite yet. I’ve found myself this week worrying about him in my sleep. The way I did when my daughter was first away at overnight camp, the way I used to obsess about the kids in my camp troupe when I was a day-camp counselor. Eventually I will relax about my Dad.

Two weeks ago, my daughter and I went to Savannah, Georgia for the weekend to look at one of her two top choice schools: SCAD—Savannah College of Art and Design. She’d been accepted and once we’d met some of the folk—professors, alumni, recruiters at a session in Katonah, New York, Baldwin was sold. She loved everything she heard. But, I told her; we had to visit the place before she signed up. So off we went.

Everyone I’d told I was going said: “Oh, you’re going to love Savannah.” One woman even said, “You’re going to want to move there.”

I hate when people do that. I hate it if it’s said about a movie, a restaurant, a city, a school, anything; my expectations are raised and 99 percent of the time, I’m disappointed. I’ve gotten to where if someone is about to offer me an opinion I hold my hand up and ask him or her to not, please.

We get to Savannah, pull up to our hotel go to check in and our room isn’t ready. We want to get the road dust off before heading to the school for the first day of SCAD weekend. The hotel clerk (the concierge is at lunch, really?) suggests a place for lunch which a short walk away. It’s a strip full of tourists and though I’m starving I’m willing to look for grub where, at least, some of the locals eat. Baldwin wants the first place we look at and I reluctantly agree. The food and the service were awful. I had a seafood pizza that was soft and infused with cheese. Baldwin’s crab cake was just nasty. We get back to the hotel, where they’d told us our room would be ready in a half hour, an hour later and still no room. It’d be a little while longer. I’m trying not to be a pushy New Yorker so I smile and sit down in the lobby. My daughter has stretched out on the sofa.

“Get up,” I hiss, even though I want to do the same thing. I’m aware that we’re in the south and decorum is prized.

After 20 more minutes, I shift into firm, almost pushy New Yorker. It’s 30 more minutes before our room is ready. The room is tiny and the view is of an auto body shop. The manager had already told me that they were completely sold out when I’d asked to be upgraded for having had to wait so long. All this set the tone for our trip. While Savannah’s park squares and Spanish moss trees are absolutely gorgeous, I didn’t fall in love. SCAD, however, is amazing,

This college tour trip was the last in an almost two-year journey with Baldwin. We’d looked at 12 colleges together. She’s looked at 14.

After that first SCAD day was over and we were heading to have a light bite (and a drink for me) we were crossing the street and it hit me that this school, this town, was the last one on this college admissions journey. I got choked up. I stopped walking.

“I just want you to know that I’ve enjoyed every single minute of this,” I said to Baldwin.

She looked at me. “Aw Mommy.” We hug standing on the street corner as I’m crying.

The next morning we’re having breakfast in the hotel. I’m waiting for my omelet; Baldwin is getting food at the buffet. A song from the Something’s Gotta Give soundtrack comes on. The movie is one of our favorite chick flicks. I feel myself welling up again.

Who am I gonna watch these movies with when she’s gone?

Suddenly the reality of my beloved girl leaving home has come home. I spend more time with her than anyone—including my husband. We like the same movies, we watch TV together on the weekends sprawled out in the basement TV room, we go shopping, we go to lunch, sometimes she even hangs out with my friends and me.

“Ford is probably going to start liking clothes and you can take him to H&M and Zara,” she tells me, trying to make me feel better.

When she leaves, I’m going to be left with Ford, his Xbox, his baseball practice, baseball games, practice, more games; and Cliff and his coaching Ford’s baseball.

I will soon let go of worrying about my Dad. I’ll soon stop the ruminations about my daughter picking the right college.

Letting go of worrying about her is not going to happen; I gotta wrap my head around that. After that, maybe I can get Ford interested in shopping.

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