Child delivered and ensconced in her dormitory room, and she’s pretty happy. I posted the above picture on Twitter and the response was largely, “Wait, she has a single room? As a freshman?” The answer is, yes to both. Apparently this was surprising to people at her college as well. Be that as it may, I also had a single room as a freshman, so I guess this is a Scalzi family tradition. Which is better than having a tradition of, say, being the first person in the dorm to do a keg stand or something like that.
We’re back at home now and everything’s fine, if a bit quiet. It was a long and kind of emotional day, but overall a good one, I think. But this evening my plan is to eat ice cream and zone out. I think that’s a perfectly fine reaction to the first day of an empty nest.
Here’s a picture of Athena on the last day of summer. The next day (today, as I’m writing this after midnight) we bundle her and much of her belongings into the minivan and head down to Oxford, Ohio, where Athena begins her time at Miami University. We’ll drop her off, help her get situated, and then drive away, to come home to a house that for the first time ever will not have her in it on a regular basis. It’s a good and expected and desired thing to have her start this part of her life. But it will be different. If there was any doubt that our daughter is no longer a child (even when she remains our child), coming home to a house without her will be the closing argument on that.
It’s nothing new in the annals of history, mind you. Children leave home all the time. But it’s new to us. And that’s the thing. We’ll be fine, and Athena will only be an hour (and a text or a tweet or phone call) away. But it will still be different without her. A little bit of each of our hearts goes with her when she goes.
That’s all I want to say about it right now. Except to reiterate again how much I love my daughter, and how proud I am of her for who she’s become and excited for who she has yet to become in these next few years. What a wonderful time for her, and for us. Still, I hope you’ll understand if I’m a little out of it the next several days. It’ll just be me, missing my kid.