On that fateful day when the doctor in the delivery room handed me a tiny, six pound baby girl, I could never have imagined coming face-to-face with anyone quite so beautiful, or loving someone quite so much.
As my husband Bob and I prepared to leave the hospital with our bundle of joy and officially enter the next phase of our lives, I wasn't sure we were quite ready to earn our new title: "parents". However, we didn't have a choice. Like two bumbling idiots, we figured out how to heat Melissa's bottle just right; swaddle her in a blanket so she'd forget to cry; position her into that bizzarre contraption called a car seat; and change those oh so stinky diapers (surprisingly, Bob never got the knack of that one.)
We were trying to function on three hours of sleep, who could think about college?
Freshman year, financial aide, dorm rooms, meal plans, boring professors, midterms, finals, winter break....all figments of some distant place that existed a million years beyond my comprehension.
A million years at warp speed.
A million years on borrowed time.
Borrowed time where I denied that my daughter would some day enter her her senior year of high school.
Borrowed time where I dreaded graduation, and the inevitable moment two months later when that precious, 6 pound baby girl would leave the safety of her parent's arms for the unknowns of a college campus.
Yet all of the fear, the pain, and the longing I expected to feel when my baby left home surpringly did not come. Bob and I entered the next phase of our lives and adjusted quite well to our new title of: "empty nesters".
Did I miss my Melissa? Of course. But we talked or texted just about every day.
The semester brought new friends into Melissa's world, and a deep-rooted appreciation for college life at American University in her adopted city, Washington, D.C.
We watched her learn, grow, and mature as she welcomed each day with excitement far beyond anything we could provide at home.
Yes home, in all of it's ordinary glory. Where a cozy bed and a piping hot shower fill my cherub with joy.
Yes home, where mom does her laundry and the cat sleeps by her side.
Yes, home, where we'll talk for hours about school and friends and hopes and dreams.
Yes, home, where she is now during her four-week long winter break, a time that is both wonderful and cruel.
For these four short weeks, Bob and I happily discard the new empty nester role that suits us so surprisingly well. Our parent hats go back on as we embrace borrowed time with our precious girl.
Because I know, all too soon, the cat will return to sleeping in a bed devoid of his favorite human.
I know, all too soon, we'll be communicating via text, instead of side by side.
I know, all too soon, she'll go back to her life, and we'll go back to our's.
And I know.....I'll be ok.
Bur for now, I can't help but miss her, even though she's still home.
|Melissa and me at the Strawberry Fields John Lennon memorial
during a winter break day trip to New York City.