It should be easier, to send child number two to college. Reverse separation anxiety, child leaving parents, not vice versa. This should have worked itself out of my system, shouldn’t it?
I should rejoice that she is departing for her life’s grand adventure, especially since she wasn’t the easiest child to parent. There was sass, a season of dishonesty. A lack of enthusiasm for chores, a regular pile of clothing to press. Much chauffeuring.
And yet, she’s not just my daughter; she’s my friend. She adores art and music and fashion and theater. Me too. We can talk for hours on those things or the mysteries of human behavior. I enjoy her. I can’t imagine her not here.
Half a lifetime ago I didn’t even think I wanted children, maybe not even a husband. I thought I was New York City-bound, an advertising executive to be. Surely someone would pay me scads of money upon graduation, based on my cleverness and lively personality.
I was wrong. As they say, first comes love, then comes marriage (Who wouldn’t marry their best friend if the best friend asked?), then comes the pushing of the baby carriage.
Children were never my plan. I figured I could talk the husband, who wanted six babies, out of his madness. Instead I found myself consenting to have one, just one, “for you.” I wonder if he was devastated by that word: one. Or did he know there’d be no way I could stop there?