Enjoy the ordinary

IMG_20131126_153557_241I thought this would be easier. I know it’s the right decision, and I know many parents across the country have made this same decision.  But, I really thought it would be easier.

I know she’s OK with it. Seemingly more so than me based on our conversations, and that’s good.  But, today it hurts, and I’m doubting our choice. More than anything, I’m wishing my daughter was coming home for Thanksgiving, because I’m missing her.

She’ll stay on campus this holiday, a decision made together when we visited her on family weekend. Many students are staying on campus, and the school’s  chef will prepare a traditional feast, including many gluten-free options for my daughter. C joked it will be different having a “traditional meal” for Thanksgiving, given our  “appetizers only” tradition. Though she won’t be surrounded by family, she’ll be among friends, several who have come to feel like sisters.

Today, Facebook has been filled with posts about sons and daughters returning home for the holiday. The excitement is palpable. Despite my longing, I’m truly excited for my friends and for my daughter, who will create new memories all her own this Thanksgiving.

I’m trying to remember this is another milestone in her life. Not unlike her first step, date, or job, her first holiday away from the family is another step towards independence. She told me she’s honestly excited to “just chill for the long weekend”; teen speak for “she’s tired and ready for a rest.” Her roommate headed home last weekend and her homework load is light. She said she’s looking forward to the solid quiet time before the finals’ crunch begins. She wants to sleep in, watch Netflix, and read. I suspect her weekend at school will actually leave her more rested than a whirlwind weekend home.

Nonetheless, I’m missing her, which is rather ordinary for any parent with a child away.

Each day, there’s a quote at the top of the page in my day planner. Today, I flipped ahead to Thursday to plan my list of snacks for the day.  This is Thursday’s quote:

Enjoy the ordinary–while you walk to the post office or the grocery store, look around and really SEE the trees, flowers, houses, and look up into the sky to notice the clouds. Enjoy what you do each and every day. ~Beth Bachtold

I felt something stir deep inside when I read this quote. I read and reread it before going about my day. Late this afternoon, with work and errands done, I took Keebler for a walk around the pond behind our house. Despite the beauty all around me, my focus was primarily on our little guide dog in training; my head was down in focused thought, as it had been all day. When I reached the top of the small hill, I looked up and I saw, really saw, the beauty in the ordinary all around me: the pond crowded with Canadian snow geese, the contrast of the dried leaves against the still green grass, the beautiful blue sky, and the snow capped mountains. For the next several moments, I watched, just watched, as the geese grazed and swam and waddled along the banks.  With Keebler sitting patiently at my side, the sounds of wings flapping and loud honking suddenly dominated the soft rustling of dried leaves. Within moments, the sky was filled with birds. I paused to watch the ordinary sight of a flock of geese, but I saw the beauty of the birds in flight.

Though C won’t be home, her dad and sister will be and traditional appetizers will be on the table as the holiday decorations come down from the attic. C will join us via Skype. We’ll talk, and laugh, and compare menus on Thanksgiving. Different, but still special. A new tradition. A new ordinary.

While I watched the geese fly away this afternoon, I thought of my C and our new ordinary, and I smiled.

Beautifully ordinary..
Beautifully ordinary..

18 thoughts on “Enjoy the ordinary”

  1. You’re not alone. Our daughter, who has been home for every Hannukah since…well, forever! is staying at college until the Xmas break. It’s going to be strange, and I’m not at all sure I like it. But at least she’ll be back next month. Or so I keep telling myself.


    1. I’d like to say I love company, but I’m sorry your daughter won’t be home until the break. Together, we can get through these long last few weeks until our girls are home. We’ve got this, and clearly so do our girls. 🙂


  2. Things keep changing, don’t they. My son arrived home at 6:30, left with his friends at 8. There’s nothing of the little boy left in him at all. But every change brings something new and exciting, too. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Your blog is lovely.


    1. “But every change brings something new and exciting.”

      I love your perspective, Sharon! Thank you for the reminder. May you enjoy more than just an hour and a half with your son while he’s home. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


  3. Oh, Mary, what a poignant post. There are so many new traditions and new ordinaries during this transition time, and some are definitely harder than others. Your daughter is lucky to have such an extra-ordinary mother. xo


  4. Oh, gosh. I know. Our oldest is not coming home this week, for the first time. She’s in grad school 16 hours away and is going to visit her boyfriend for Thanksgiving. i’m happy for her because he’s a great guy. But, oh, how difficult it is to have one of our babies missing. You’re right about enjoying the ordinary and everyday, though. So much to be thankful for. Hoping for a joyful holiday for you. -Amy at http://www.momgoeson.wordpress.com


    1. Oh, my goodness, Amy! You and I are walking parallel paths with one of our chicks not coming home this week. Different, and still special. A new ordinary for both of us. Thanks for stopping by and a very happy holiday to you and yours.


  5. *sigh* Just beautiful, Mary. My two oldest, both daughters, are married off, one in upstate NY, the other in New Mexico. I’m into birds, and I’m into signs, so your post touched me deeply. We’re soul sisters. Happy, but a little sad, too. Happy Thanksgiving.


    1. How often your words have given me perspective, Lisha! And, keeping myself in perspective around this “first”, I thought of all the parents whose children will never return home. I was quickly humbled.


  6. It will be hard, I’m sure, to be away from your daughter on Thanksgiving, but you already hac a positive attitude about it — that’s probably half the battle.


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