My nest is empty, but my heart is full. I miss both of my children very much. Grace—most recently—flew the coop. It is a strange feeling having no one here calling out, “Mom!” No one here asking to make them some food, to look at an outfit, to pack a lunch or take them somewhere. No one for me to nag about picking up shoes or clothes left strewn about the house. There’s no Grace here for me to tell to get her papers off the kitchen table and to please clean up her mess.
The drama now comes from afar—in a text or phone call. At least I have that. Grace is far, far away. She chose a college in California. It is a beautiful place—every day she wakes up to picturesque scenes, perfect weather and a swimming pool outside of her dorm. I am afraid she will never come home after having a taste of all of that.
We had some great times together this summer. We took trips to Washington, D.C., New York and to some festivals. When we’re together, however, there was always seems to be some sort of drama. Our trip to D.C. was fun—the day started out warm and sunny. When we got to the festival, though, the clouds came and we got rained on, and we definitely did not have the proper attire. Still, we had a good time. At the Food Truck Festival at The Timonium Fairgrounds something similar, but worse, happened. We got there and it was bright and dry. Five minutes in, the sky opened up and we had to stand under a tent for half an hour waiting for the rain to stop. Again, it cleared up, and we laughed and ate and had a great time.
Then, on our trip to the Big Apple we found ourselves in the middle of a robbery at a thrift store in the East Village. Grace loves thrift stores—thrifting was our mission in New York. In this particular store, I was on one side looking at a jacket and she was on the other side near the door. I suddenly heard a crash and glass breaking. Naturally, my first thought was, “What did Grace knock over and break?” But when I turned around, I saw the storeowner tussling with a man and crashing into things. Grace had run to the back of the store and was motioning for me to join her. Turns out, the guy, who came in wearing no shirt, walked right past Grace. The next thing she knew, he was running out of the store with a shirt on. The storeowner grabbed him, took the shirt and kicked the shoplifter out. Thankfully, it was not more serious.
Apparently, Grace and I have interesting travel karma. But it was the trip to California where it really hit us hard.
We got her bags to the airport—all four of them. They all met the weight requirements, thankfully, and we got through security with no problems. By 6:40 a.m. we had boarded the plane to Chicago. The ride was bumpy as we flew through storms. At one point, the pilot had the plane in a steep descent when suddenly he pulled it back up. He told us that it was raining too hard and he couldn’t see to land. So, instead, we flew around for an hour. Then he decided to land in Milwaukee for fuel. Then, it was back to Chicago. Of course, by the time we arrived, we had missed our connection to Ontario, Calif. It was 8:30 a.m. and the next plane would could catch would not go out until 1:45 p.m. We waited and finally boarded a plane to Phoenix. But that plane was scheduled to land in Cleveland first, so we didn’t make it to Phoenix until 6p.m. We waited several more hours for our plane to California. Just our luck, it was delayed. Six destinations and 16 hours later, we finally arrived in California. Our bags were there before us. My daughter Paige was already there. She had flown in from St. Louis to help move Grace in. Grace and I were both anxious, and disappointed about losing the whole day. But we laughed and realized it was the universe’s way of giving us a little more together time and another excursion we both will remember forever.
The next day, we got her moved in and settled. Later that afternoon, after a barbecue with all of the freshmen and their families, we said goodbye to Grace. Paige and I felt like we were dropping her off at summer camp. That’s how laid back the place is. She’s far away, but in touch, thanks to texting, FaceTime and cell phones that let us call long-distance without extra charges. I miss my children so much. Remember to enjoy yours as much as you can. All too soon, they will be gone.
Lisa Robinson is a news anchor for WBAL-TV