Friday, September 23, 2011

it is what it is

Those of you who read my last post and who gave sympathetic comments on this blog or on my email might want to stop reading this post immediately. Stopping now means you can stay in the warm, fuzzy haze of the bittersweet emotions you felt by reading that post. If you read on, you will join me in the startling jolt of my new reality. Which isn’t warm or fuzzy. Simply summarized, I miss Kristi more than she misses me. Here is the sum total of our relationship since the evening we left her and her new life in Rexburg:

Unless otherwise stated, these are texting conversations.

Thursday, Sept. 8th (about a half an hour after we left her teary face):

Me: “I miss you already. Have a fun night and know that we love and cherish you, and that we will be cheering you on from back home. Great times await at BYUI!!! Just keep being your beautiful sweet self and you will be just fine.”

K: “Okay! I’m already feeling good!”

Me: “I’m glad. I think I am on the feel-good-later plan, haha. But I feel really good about your surroundings and I know you will be happy as a college girl! I won’t bug you anymore now, but maybe later!”

3 hours later: (they had had I-Group activities in the stadium all evening)

Me: We are almost at Grandma’s so just tell me quick how the night was. Fun? Lame? Are you ready to get some sleep?”

K: “Fun. There are four boys in the dorm with me. No joke. One of them is my i-team leader. Cute.”

Me: “Wow, perhaps all bets on your accelerated social life are ON.  So what activities were there tonight and how did 4 boys end up at your place? What about the curfew?”

K: no response.

Friday, Sept. 9th mid-morning:

K: “Do you remember unpacking my camera? There are 7000 kids in our freshman class!”

Me: “I don’t remember your camera. 7000, seriously? How was your first night on your bunk bed? And I’m still needing a few more details about how those boys ended up in your room. ”

K: no response.

Later same day:

Me: “Your camera is in the seat pocket of the Suburban and your floral skirt was in the dryer at Grandma’s. I guess I will be sending a package soon! Are you having a happy day? Did you go to all your orientation activities?”

K: Nothing for a few hours, but then: “Yes, happy day!! I really like it. I went to most of the stuff. This afternoon I hung out with Shannon, Patrick, Josh (people from Carson), and their roommate Gabe. Good time. I laughed a lot. Send me a package!”

Me: “I am glad to hear you had a good day! Seen your roommates much? Happy to hear you are laughing!”

K: no response.

Saturday, Sept. 10th:

K: “Where did you put the gum I got?”

Me: In the pantry with your other food I think.”

K: no response.

Several hours and a few attempted phone calls later:

Me: It’s weird not having talked to you on the phone since we left. How about tomorrow?”

K: no response.

Later that night before bed:

Me: “Hey! I need an update! I am starving for information!”

K: no response.

Glad to know she had the gum.

Sunday we talked on the phone, but only after several attempts (from me) to set up a time that would work for her. We finally agreed on 4:30, but when I called, she didn’t pick up her phone. She sent a text a minute later saying she was in the middle of dinner and would call back in a few minutes. She did, and we had a good talk for about 15 minutes (maybe) but then she had to go. Things to do, people to meet, classes to find in preparation for the first day of school the next day.

By this time, Kristi was probably wishing she had gone on a mission instead of off to school so that her mom would quit bugging her. But by this time, I was feeling sorry for myself that already Kristi didn’t need me for anything. Except the gum and the camera.

Classes began on the 12th, and since then our communication has been more of the same, or maybe even less of the same. She doesn’t answer phone calls. If she answers texts, it’s usually much later, and she almost always exits the ‘conversation’ without saying goodbye. I hate being left hanging there in cyberspace all alone.

I have two close friends who also sent their daughters off to college. One was skyping her daughter DAILY and having several conversations in between. The other was skyping occasionally and having daily conversations. Hm.

Thursday the 15th began happily for me; a spontaneous text from Kristi after her first once-a-week 7 a.m. class:

K: Whoa. So sleepy. I am in the library doing homework, and the way the soft morning light is streaming in the window and gently caressing the side of my face urges me to close my eyes. Also, I have a crush on a boy in my Comm100 class. We got lost together this morning and were late. . .”

Me: “Oh my goodness, that was the best way to begin my day!”

K: nothing for the rest of the day.

In fact I didn’t hear from her again (and yes, I tried) until Saturday night when she apologized for being so busy, and said she would call Sunday after church. She ended that text with “I love you Mommy!” Mmm-hmmm. Sure you do.

It is becoming crystal clear to me that Kristi is moving on and I am just standing here. Who gave her permission to leave me in the dust so fast??? I am pathetic. I have even sunk to the point of setting Facebook as my home page in hopes of catching a glimpse of her. Last night Austin (who misses her tons) finally tricked her into calling him by texting her to say he had done something that day at school that would have made her very proud. Curiosity got the best of her and she called him. After a few minutes she told him she had to go because she was going out on a date. Austin said something like, “Ooh, your first college date?” To which she replied that this was her FIFTH date. Excuse me????? I didn’t know there had been a first, second, third or fourth. I am the mother!! I am in the circle of trust!! Or at least I used to be. Now I just have boys and nightcrawlers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

nightcrawlers in my 'fridge

 A couple of weeks ago, I voluntarily participated in loading many of Kristi's worldly possessions into our Suburban.  I watched her say her final goodbyes, and then we drove away.  Away from our house, her friends' houses, away from our neighborhood.  Away from her brothers and the town she called home for 15 years.  We did this on purpose.  We meant to.  And then we just drove and drove, and drove. 

Her trip was one-way.  Mine was round-trip.  When I pulled back into our driveway a week later, the Suburban was almost empty.  I grabbed my one suitcase and went inside.  Back to my life.  Except it didn't feel that way.  My life may look much the same on the outside, but it feels altered forever now that my little girl has moved away.  Yes, she'll be back now and then, but it will never be the same.  When she was a cute and precocious toddler, her dad and I used to comment to each other about how we were just so excited to watch her grow up to see who she would become.  It seemed like it would take forever (in a good way!).  Well, after coming home, it's hit me like a ton of bricks that "watching her grow up" has been completed. .  We can cross that off our list now.   Sure, she's not done "becoming" yet, but we won't really be watching it now that her life isn't unfolding in front of us anymore. 

 I will admit that it's been awhile now since I feel like I've done any real parenting with Kristi.  She's a smart, talented, independant spirit who hasn't really needed my help or guidance for what feels like a long time.  I still tried to parent her from time to time, but mostly it was unnecessary and of little use.  She makes good choices and does good things.  And so I just felt like mostly we were friends.  She had lots of other friends too, but every now and then I got to be the one she would laugh and talk and share secrets with.  I hope that part of our relationship will continue.  And I am so grateful for who she has become, and so happy that she has had such a good start to this new and important phase in her life.  But I will forever cherish and miss my little girl.  And I hope we told her and showed her enough times how much we love and adore her.

 And why the title of this post?  Well, as I was unpacking my little cooler from the trip home, I opened the refrigerator to put something away, and sitting front and center was a tub of nightcrawlers.  I thought it an appropriate greeting to my new all-male environment, and it has become representative to me of this current phase of my life.   Kristi would have shared my feelings about having the worms reside so close to the yogurt, but no one else here seems to care.

 One battle Kristi and I fought over the years was the condition of her bedroom.  She told me once that I cared too much about it, and she cared too little.  And the former was what caused the latter.  A few times over the years she has told me that I would miss her messy room when she was gone, and I adamantly insisted I would not.  Guess who was right?  Sniff!!  Maybe if I close her door I can still imagine it having the "lived-in" look.

Love and enjoy your children!  Missions and college may be great things, but they are hard on dear old Mom.