Table for one

Why have I just set an extra place at lunch? Again?

I dine alone during the day. It’s become a table for one kind of deal for me, even on the rare occasions I decide to eat out. But I find a bit of comfort in setting the extra place at home. My oldest daughter headed off to college two months ago, but old habits die hard – like the ones I’ve had for eighteen years.

I left her bed untouched (ironic, isn’t it, after badgering them to make their beds everyday). When I told her that over the phone, I could almost see her rolling her eyes at me. “Mom. It’s not a shrine.”

It was excruciatingly difficult those first few weeks after I dropped her off, tens of thousands of miles and half a planet away (and technically, somewhere in the past too. For the time-travelers amongst us the distance also means she’s half a day behind. She’s eating dinner when I’m struggling to get up, the next day). But those brave women who have walked this road before assured me it gets easier, after oh, maybe six weeks of depression.

They’re right. We raise our kids to be independent, and when they are, finally, we know we’ve done our jobs. My daughter’s a young adult. Now I have to do my own bit of growing into the next phase of motherhood, when we transition from authority figures to mentors and best friends.

So it’s probably time to change the sheets on that top bunk. My other daughter can throw her many, many accoutrements up there. Those that don’t fit in her closet, or end up strewn all over her desk, and in piles on the floor.

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