Yesterday my stepdaughter “Sandra” left for Columbia University. Teachers College, to be specific, and on the other side of the country. This seems like a much more nearly irrevocable departure than when she was just finishing up her BA at Berkeley. When she was there she could come down and visit once in a while. My wife and I are proud of her and all she’s accomplished in school, and her future looks bright. And when she was staying with us, she left quite a big “footprint”, environmentally speaking, on our apartment, which under those circumstances might best be described as “large made small”. Hairdryers and cosmetics would be left in the living room, and my wife’s bathroom, which they shared, was always cluttered with her things. Lights were always being left on in empty rooms, and her way of doing things, generally, was noisy. And she monopolized her mom’s car.
So now that she’s gone we should be relieved, right? No, not right. :(. In spite of the obtrusiveness of her life with us, she brought something to our lives that we cherished. I never had a child of my own, but now I have some appreciation of how parents feel when their kids leave.
I met “Sandra” when I met my future wife, and she had just turned 13. It’s an age when kids begin to pull away from their parents, and I never wanted to be obtrusive as her mother’s boyfriend, and later, as her stepfather. Consequently I think I withheld too much of my time, my guidance, and myself. And now that she’s gone, it’s too late in a way, though we can still have email.
I’m sure I’ll feel better in a day or two, but right now it’s hard.