She's Leaving Home -- 08/12/02

Jennifer is moving to Providence this week, to her own (shared) apartment.

Yes, that Beatle's song keeps running through my head...

This has been something she has wanted to do for more than a year but one thing or another always blocked her plans. Mostly, it has been a financial problem... not hers, but her friends with whom she had considered sharing an apartment.

I understand the need for independence, the instinct to spread wings and fly. I got along very well with my parents but I felt the same urge when I was her age. Actually, when I was exactly her age I did live at home for a year or so -- I'd lived on campus my freshman year and rented with a group of friends my sophomore year; but then I switched to a school within commuting distance of home and lived with my family... until I moved out and rented a house with a couple of friends... and not a single empty nest thought crossed my mind back then. (And then in 1966 the nest quickly became empty when my brother* and I both got married within a few months of each other.)

It was different with Adam... Jennifer has been commuting to college, but Adam went to a school almost a three hour drive away... so we've been accustomed to her still being "at home" (even though her third shift job and her busy social life means that we've not seen her awake at home too many hours out of the day for the past year or so) The big difference back then was that Nancy and I were so busy with the little ones (Jennifer was in kindergarten when Adam was a freshman; Sean was a toddler) that we didn't have much time to feel that the nest was being emptied.

Nancy has been dreading this ever since Jennifer first began to talk about getting her own place; she's trying to be upbeat and positive about but as much as she can understand Jennifer's need to be out on her own, she still sees it as her little baby being at the mercy of a cold, cruel world. That was another difference with Adam that is making this harder for Nancy; Adam was almost eleven when Nancy and I got married and had started high school by the time he moved in with us, so it wasn't her baby going out into the world.

Oh, okay, despite being busy with Jennifer and Sean, for me the nest did feel emptier without Adam... (and he still doesn't visit any where near often enough -- hey, c'mon, it's only a four hour train ride *grin*) -- and yes, I've been trying not to show it but my baby girl is going out into the cold, cruel world... naw, I always have a lump in my throat and a bit of moisture at the corners of my eyes, didn't bother me to watch her packing her stuff.

I once wrote an entry describing my den. The thought would cross my mind from time to time that I could do other entries describing various other rooms in the house, especially Jennifer's room and Sean's room. Her room was fascinating to behold, walls covered with photographs, posters, pictures cut from magazines -- snapshots of her friends, pictures of skateboards and skateboarders, pictures of bands, movie and CD posters -- and now I can't describe it in detail because she had already taken most of it down by the time I was leaving for work this morning. Her room was the first room to be set up when we moved in... I'd let her take the day off from school (8th grade) when the moving van brought our furniture and boxes of possessions and she was decorating her room even as the furniture was being brought into the house.

That was six and a half years ago. Time flies. Children grow up.

I know she's only moving to Providence. Thirty miles. A forty-five minute car ride. Her bed and some of her furniture (and a bookcase full of books) will still be in her room. Her aquarium and her fish will still be here (too large to move without great difficulty). Her pet rats (Molly and Splinter), however, will be moving with her. ("If you move, you have to take your rats with you.") She'll be home on weekends to visit Tiger and her fish and maybe even us. (But her real dream is to move to Seatle, or maybe to Montreal.)

So Sean will be the only baby bird left in the nest; he thinks his sister is crazy to leave all the comforts of home. (But he has his driver's license now and is going into his senior year of high school, so it's just a question ot time...)

*Charlie and Donna will be celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary in a few weeks.

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