Anne Notations

Friday, August 22, 2008

Three came back

Melinda on the bed in her new room, with Michael setting up her clock radio.

Kevin makes sure Melinda's network connection is working: Yep.

Michael, Kevin, and I moved Melinda into her Syracuse dorm all day Wednesday, had supper with her in the cafeteria, and left for Cooperstown that night. I had been in a state of dread beforehand and numbness during the move-in. As soon as we hugged one last time and walked away from her dorm, I melted into a blubbering blob of mournful goo.

We drove on route 20 southeast of Syracuse, up and down lovely rolling hills quilted with farms, splendid with weathered red barns and waving corn fields. The sun set in glory behind us, turning the world gold and ruby. Everything looked like a scenic calendar page for the month of August. And in our rented minivan, I sobbed and sobbed, tears streaming down my face and puddling around my neck. Leaving Melinda felt like losing a limb; I was incomplete, stunned.

The next morning, I awoke at our no-frills motel on a lovely small lake near Oneonta and photographed this scene, which brought to mind a snippet of a children's song by Raffi, which got me crying all over again.

Four little ducks went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only three little ducks came back.

Yesterday was pretty bad on the mourning front, but I had some good distractions, mailed Melinda a postcard, texted her on the phone a few times, and hung out with my two guys in a gorgeous part of New York State (see map at left). In the morning I sat by the little lake and prayed the Rosary and asked for strength and composure, for acceptance of this new phase of our lives, for safety and courage for Melinda, and for the continued love our family shares. The prayers honestly seemed to help; this morning I woke up refreshed, even cheerful.

Life does go on. Now, let's see: how many days until Syracuse's Family Weekend? That would be 70 days, in fact. Let the countdown begin!


  • Melinda is such a beautiful young woman. I hope she enjoys college and does well in her studies.
    Let her fly...

    By Anonymous Elise, at Fri Aug 22, 09:11:00 PM EDT  

  • Anne - I love how you weave your narrative...three came back.

    you and Mike have given Melinda all she needs to forge her own path. Still sad, I know, to realize the road to indepence invitably involves cutting those ties...well, at least some of them. The important thing is....Melinda feels the love so the tie that binds will remain..forever.

    By Blogger just linda, at Sat Aug 23, 08:08:00 PM EDT  

  • Having had this experience with our two daughters, I hope it helps, at least a little, to remember what Thom and I always tell parents when we help move students in here at SIUC, that this is what we have raised them to do--to go off to college to learn who they are and what they can do on their own. I am sure Melinda will make you very proud.

    By Blogger Clare, at Sun Aug 24, 01:02:00 PM EDT  

  • sorry about the cliche' but truths become clihe's for a reason: if you love someone - set them free. hard, but true. you sound like a loving mom with a lot to be proud of.

    By Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann, at Fri Aug 29, 12:42:00 AM EDT  

  • I still remember letting our firstborn go as one of the most wrench moments of my life. I drove him up to Milton, MA so he could go to soccer camp a week early. Idle chatter in the car. No maternal half of the collapsing marriage: just me and Jake. When we got there I turned to him and had no idea what I could say. He said "Don't go getting all emotional on me, okay? Anyhow, Mom will be up here next weekend."

    I had to "deadhead" back to Jersey in the emptiest vehicle in human history. At that point even my wife would have been okay company....

    Anne, you guys will handle it. They do indeed come back, and it is a blessing when they do.

    By Blogger Ken, at Fri Aug 29, 06:19:00 PM EDT  

  • It's just a new chapter in your relationship with Melinda -- not the end of the book. I sobbed when Luke drove off to NC to start his new job, but we've heard from him more regularly since he officially left the nest than we heard from him while he was in college!

    (We drove down to visit him last week -- he lives in a gorgeous area of Western NC, next to the forest where "Last of the Mohicans" was filmed. Nice of him to pick such a pretty place for us to visit him!)

    By Blogger Tracie, at Sun Aug 31, 09:02:00 AM EDT  

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