Gina has been gone a long time.
Even before she moved across the country, she left home for college. Once that happened, she stopped calling home for help dealing with the administrativa of life and she stopped calling home for money. She got a job or two. She figured stuff out. And, as I completely expected, she grew up.
But throughout her undergraduate career, she was able to come home for the holidays because she was only 60 miles away. Now, she’s 2,000 miles away and neither of us has the money for her to come home every year for the holidays.
I miss her a lot but I miss her a lot more around this time of year. First of all, her birthday also falls right around Thanksgiving. Then, too, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and there was always a certain amount of dinner-making bonding (with singing, of course … there must always be singing) among the ladies for this holiday.
I miss her for Christmas and for our annual New Year’s Eve party but I really feel her absence right around now. And so does she.
But the fact that Gina lives on the other side of the country really brings home another inescapable fact.
One of these days, they will all be gone. All of them. Even David. Some day, none of my children will live with me and there will be no holiday preparations in my house.
In some ways, I feel that is as it should be. They are not supposed to live with me forever. It is my job as their parent to help them become self-sufficient and then let my little birdies fly from the nest. Maybe I’ll be lucky and the rest of them won’t live so far away. (Kimmie swears that she will live as close to next door to me as possible for the rest of my life.)
Eventually, I will reach that point in my life where my kids will be taking turns hosting the annual holiday celebration — maybe just with me or maybe we’ll all gather at the home of whoever’s turn it is that year. Complete with spouses (if there are any) and offspring (if there are any of those, either). As I think about it, that sounds like a lot of fun.
But it will also mean that everyday life will be quiet and maybe even pretty lonely, once they’re all gone.
It’s a good thing I plan to have things to do, anthropological phenomena to research and classes to teach. Otherwise, I think I’d probably be pretty miserable once they’re all gone.
And, even if I manage to keep myself busy having my own life, I know I’ll miss all of them just like I miss Gina now.