The First Visit Home from College
We watched the calendar, all of us, for the day when Kiki would come home to visit. We watched the clock on the day she was coming so that everything would be prepared, sheets washed, room decorated. We watched the driveway at the time she was due to catch sight of her as soon as possible.
Then she was here. Then there were hugs. We laughed. We had an evening full of being together, watching a show, playing video games. She snuggled her kitty, laughed with her siblings. I looked on them from upstairs and once again I was counting to four instead of just three. It was wonderful. Life was normal and right.
Except, we had to figure out where to put her suitcase and how to set her up for sleeping. We had to move Gleek back up to the top bunk. We had to return to the careful dance of getting Gleek to go to sleep first to dodge the frequent bedtime grouchiness. We needed to remember how many pizzas to cook with an extra person in the house. Having Kiki here made us all see the ways that the patterns of our lives have shifted in a dozen subtle ways. We are so glad she’s here. All of us have drifted to be near her just because we can. Yet her being here is no longer part of the regular rounds of our lives.
This morning Kiki was tired. She doesn’t sleep well in unfamiliar beds, and the bed that used to be hers has become unfamiliar. The dorm is sort of home and our house is sort of home. Kiki has made the discovery that though there will always be a place for her in our house, it is not the same place that she used to have. She doesn’t get to go back, just forward.
Kiki and I sat this morning and talked about how best to make space for her when she comes home. This time we made space for her in the room that she and Gleek used to share. But Kiki and I looked and knew, she does not fit in that room anymore. Kiki is grown up and needs a grown up space. On her next visit we’ll put her on the fold-out bed in my office. Perhaps that will be better.
This evening I dropped Kiki at the home of one of her college friends. They have an event this evening. It is the reason they came up from college. This friend has her own room and it is still exactly as she left it. The comparison was striking. Kiki packed up all her things when leaving our house. This friend always has a familiar space to return to. Kiki is propelled toward her future, this friend has a measure of security that isn’t available to Kiki with the way that we have done things. I don’t know that one way is better than the other, just reflective of different families and requirements. Some day Kiki will own a space that she can make exactly as she would like.
We have one more day with Kiki here. Next weekend we’ll go and visit her. This will let the other kids see the school, see her dorm, meet the friends that Kiki has found. It will be a different view on this new stage of life that we have entered. All of us are figuring out how this needs to go.
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