The day had arrived. "The girls" (my daughters have put up with that term most of their lives, being lumped together like the cliche-ish two peas in a pod) have moved out into their own place. After weeks of anticipation and days of preparation, the alarms went off at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and we all crawled out of bed and began the final car-loading, last minute packing, and pet catching.
So I waited. Alone. For the first time in almost three decades I'll be living alone. Will I find new pursuits? Will I simply enjoy the solitude after busy work days? Will I find a new purpose or re-dedicate myself to old interests? I picked up a broom and began sweeping. There is a quiet peace in the swishing of the broom on the wood floor. Visions of all the people I've observed sweeping went through my head. My sister Linda sweeping -- telling me how after living overseas she observed many European women keeping such tidy homes. The school girls in Kenya -- sweeping the school steps with shrub branches. My mom -- sweeping the back patio off in the cool mornings, lost in her own thoughts. I remembered a quote about how it was easier to envision Jesus sweeping the streets than delivering a severe edict from the palace steps. Gentle, quiet movement is soothing.
Then the movers arrived and from then on there was no stopping! I showed them where things were -- the old sofa, the bookcases, the boxes, the TV -- until the truck was loaded. Then they left, with me following in my car for our trek to the City.
The move went smoother than we could ever hope for. Beds were delivered and set up by the mattress company, the internet service guy showed up promptly, the movers arrived and unloaded everything in record time. Ash and Lys were in charge -- "Put that here, just set that there". I was proud, amazed, awed by their poise and independence.
I confess I cried a bit when it was time to hug them goodbye and leave. Although Ash had lived away before, to have both of them "launched" on their own, knowing it's time to let go, made me realize that 90% of my parenting work is now done. I'll always be there to guide them, help them, answer questions for them, but I have to trust that they'll do the right thing and handle every day life on their own now. I'll miss them, but this is what parenting is all about. And truly my heart is bursting with joy for them.