And just like that, she was gone again

Just talked to Savannahbound daughter, Kennedy. She was in the middle of the Florida panhandle on I-10. Besides getting out of Texas, it’s by far the longest and most boring part of the drive.

She left at 5:30 a.m., New Year’s Day. We both figured all the drunks from New Year’s Eve would be sleeping it off so it would be a good day to drive.

She stopped and visited for a couple of hours in New Orleans with a friend and his family. Then she was on the road again.

She stayed overnight in Daphne, Alabama, which is east of Mobile. She got to her hotel by about 7:30 p.m. last night. It was past the halfway mark of the trip. A lot of driving on the first day but worth it.

Kennedy has rented a room in a house in Savannah that she’s never seen before, with people she’s never met before. Everything she took with her to set up housekeeping had to be packed skillfully in her Chevrolet Malibu. We got her an air mattress and collapsible closet, seating and storage. She ordered a bed frame and desk to be delivered to the house after she arrives. Those will be the only large pieces she will own.

She will be setting up her room and putting her furniture together, all by herself. Well, that’s not really true. She will have her friends from SCAD on hand. She already contacted them to see if they could help her move into her room.

I guess what I mean is she’ll be moving in, putting things together, finding a place for everything.... without me.

I’m trying to get a fix on what I’m feeling. I gave myself time to cry yesterday, so I am finished. I mean it.

Except for a bit of tearing up when I read one of her checkins on Facebook. Or she calls. Or I find her location on the map. Or I walk by her room.

Or I breathe.

I truly want her to go, I truly do not want her to stay here. Her future is out there, she just needs to go and find it.

She stayed home this past Fall Semester and took SCAD online classes due to health issues that had the ability to alter her plans. But she didn’t let that happen.

Now she’s headed right back, ready to roll.

I told her “Look, these doctors don’t really know much about your condition. Instead of letting them use you for a guinea pig, you need to get back to Savannah and school.

“If your symptoms worsen, if you can’t remember your name or start barking like a dog, then we will deal with it. But for now, you can manage just fine. You’ve never let your hearing loss slow you down, you will not let this keep you from doing what you need to do. Now go do it.”

After my cheerleader pep-talk, the look on her beautiful face of relief, excitement and determination is something I will remember for the rest of my life. Her face lit up, it actually did.

It was a speech worthy of an academy award.

I did mean what I said, but there is a little more to it than that. Isn’t there always?

The crazy-emotional side of me wanted the pep-talk to go another way.

“Stay with me forever. What if something bad happens or you get sick or have a problem? What if there is some unspeakable horror out there? Just stay here with me and I’ll take care of you and protect you.

“I’ll rock you and stroke your hair. I’ll kiss your forehead and sing to you and make everything alright. Just stay here. Don’t go.”

But that part of me is selfish. With multiple personalities, there are bound to be a few crazy ones, right?

Every time I have given in to that Mama-will-fix-everything, I always regretted it later.

Because they didn’t learn one single thing from the experience, except that their Mama made another stupid mistake based on emotion.

My darling daughters, when it appears that I don’t care or I am turning my back on you, what I am really saying is that it’s time to see what you’re made of. Time to grow up. You will surely make mistakes and sometimes fall. But you get up, dust yourself off and do it all over again, until you get it right.

And you will get it right, because you’re both brilliant, beautiful women. And so much smarter than your mom.

So when Kennedy left at 5:30 a.m., I just smiled and waved as she drove away. Calm and cool, like it was the most normal thing in the world. Like I would see her the very next day, instead of May.

Why is letting go so hard? Or maybe, in my case, it’s just shutting up that’s hard.

Either I have a very bad case of indigestion or letting go must be connected directly to my heart. All of my “personalities” are in complete agreement.

Something in there hurts. r

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2012-01-05 digital edition

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