Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Changing Places by Nannette Croce

Final semester of my daughter’s senior year at college. We’re visiting for the Easter weekend. Driving, I think of the first year, before she had her own car, picking her up that first Thanksgiving, Christmas, visiting at Easter, the first she would spend away from home. Stressing every traffic delay, anxious not to keep her waiting.

That first year we often received a call in the car. Are you almost here? How long until you arrive? Do you have to stop at the hotel first? Why not come right here? Then hugs and squeezes and a torrent of conversation. The annoying things her roommate did or said, the guy she liked who didn’t like her, the guy who liked her who she didn’t like.

This year we leave the house at a leisurely hour. Our daughter has volunteered to help out with a seminar and won’t be free until late afternoon. Around 5:00 the call comes. She’s exhausted, has a birthday party to attend that night, hasn’t bought the gift yet. Do we mind? My husband shoots me a look of relief when he hears my response.

“Actually, Dad and I are tired from the ride. We’ll pick up a salad at the supermarket and watch the news.”

We make plans for the next day. She’ll do the driving. She knows the town. She’ll pick us up for lunch. I’m already wondering at the protocol. Who sits in front Dad or me?

We’ll shop for a formal together, probably for the last time. We’ll pay for that and the gas she puts in the car. A last vestige of our roles as Mom and Dad.

We are already beginning to exchange places. Oddly, I don’t mind. This is how life works. This is how it should be.


Kathryn Magendie said...

*smiling* When those changes come, it's both a relief and a bit poignantly sad, too...but mostly a relief they are finally "grown up" ? *laughing*

Barbara Quinn said...

Ch, ch, ch, changes....

Life is change for sure. And new traditions can be as satisfying as the old ones.

Angie Ledbetter said...

My first child's in college but still living at home, so the changes are slow and nice. It is strange thinking of her walking the streets of NYC alone on spring break, but I'm confident in her.

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