How Kiki is Doing at College, and How We’re Handling Her Being Gone
“You don’t write about me as much anymore” Lamented Kiki via twitter on an evening when she was feeling a bit homesick and had read through my blog entries. She’s right, I haven’t been writing about Kiki’s college adjustments or our adjustments here at home. I’m still trying to find my balance with this parenting an adult thing. I’m once again having to ask myself which stories are mine to tell and which just belong to Kiki.
The other truth is that we’ve reached a point where having her gone feels normal. Humans are highly adaptable and one month into having her gone, my mother radar has learned not to try to look for her in the house. Instead it expects to keep tabs on her via twitter, email, and Skype. Things that feel normal don’t generally make for interesting blog entries. Except in the midst of the “normal” there are little evidences that life is different from all the years that went before. Gleek has taken to sleeping in the bed that used to be Kiki’s. Part of that is convenience, it is the lower bunk. Some of it may have to do with the softer mattress. I think most of it is because it lets Gleek feel closer to Kiki. This morning Patch asked me to show him how to send an email, because he forgot how and wants to send one to Kiki. He wants to hear back from her. A major theme in Link’s emotional dramas over homework was how much he misses Kiki. Adapting to being the oldest kid in the house is not easy for him. All of us pay attention to the calendar, noticing how long until she’ll come home for a visit. So when I say we’ve adapted and life feels normal, part of what feels normal is missing Kiki. Every day, in a dozen small ways.
Any time Kiki calls us via Skype, everyone flocks to the room the minute they hear her voice. They don’t always know what to say, so they sit there smiling at Kiki, just wanting to be close by. Mostly the younger kids end up listening to Kiki’s college adventures for awhile before they wander off. Howard will sometimes take my laptop and talk to her for awhile. Not having her here in the house means that we all have to learn new ways of relating and connecting. The kids need to learn to save up and remember the things they want to tell her, so that they have something to say when there is a chance.
Every week at church someone will ask me how Kiki is doing. It is always a different person, though we’re starting to see repeats. They honestly wish her well and are glad to hear that college is going well. Because it is. Kiki has down days. She has homesick days. But, as far as I know, most of her days are good. She’s got paying work as an illustrator. She has classes that interest her. She has friends who let her hang out in their room almost 24/7. There are frustrations and stresses, but they are outweighed by the good things. I know a dozen stories to tell about financial learning experiences, dragon marathons, costume plans, and stray cats, but I’m not sure which stories she wouldn’t mind having told and which would make her feel exposed. And then there is the fact that it has only been the past week when my bloggy story-telling brain has switched back on. For weeks on end I was skipping blogging or only reporting the days events. It feels very different internally when my brain takes the days events and crafts it into an interesting story. With that part of me reviving, perhaps I’ll tell more of Kiki’s stories.
So there you go Kiki. Just because you’re not taking up space in the house (nor much on the blog lately, which has been quite Link-centric for the last bit) doesn’t mean you’re forgotten. Far from it.
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