Tonight, I go to bed with very mixed emotions. Today, our daughter, Emily, moved out of our house and into an apartment. Her birthday is tomorrow. She will be 23 years old. She moved home last May when she graduated from Nazareth College. We knew that she would only be here for a short time. We were glad to have her back home and treasured having this time with her.
Emily has worked really hard over the past year. She has saved some money and has also made extra payments toward her loans. She has wanted to be independent. Part of independence, for her, was moving out of our house and into an apartment.
Over the last couple of days, Emily has packed her belongings. Today, a friend brought a truck and took all of her stuff to her apartment. Even though I expected the move, even though I know she is ready, even though she is all grown up, it was hard to watch that truck drive away with my little girl inside.
Mixed emotions. Happy to see her spread her wings and fly away. Sad to see her go. Excited for her. Worried about her. Proud of her. Always, always, madly in love with her. She is my first-born, my only daughter, my friend. John and I have learned, over the past year, to treat her like an adult. She has insisted on it. It has been hard to allow her to grow up and break free from her childhood patterns. But she has done it. She is smart. She is self-actualized. She is wise. Many times, she takes my breath away.
As Emily begins a new chapter in the book of her life, so do John and I. We are facing the beginning of empty nest. After Emily left, we cleaned her room. Scrubbing the woodwork and shampooing the carpet made me feel better. Her room may be empty, but it is sparkling clean. Ready for a fresh start.
We will miss Emily. She hasn’t gone far, but it feels like she is already a million miles away. We will see her tomorrow to celebrate her birthday. Happy Birthday, my sweet Emily. You are a beautiful woman, but you will always be my little girl.