Last Friday we loaded up 18 yo A's car, and our van, and left our driveway. We were helping move A into her dorm for her first year of college. She's attending a Christian University - the same one Steve and I attended.
Her story began there, I guess. It began in 1990 when an Army brat in Maryland decided to go to college in Kansas, and a Kansas boy decided to give up his K-State dreams and attend the college that offered him better scholarships. It began in 1991 when that Army brat had to leave her family (now in Panama) and fly to Kansas alone. It began when that boy (a sophomore and in Student Government) met that girl during orientation week. It began in 1992 when that boy asked that girl out on a date. And now A's writing her own life story by going off to the same college.
It was a good weekend, watching her settle in, spending time with 2 of my sisters, and saying goodbye to A. She's been calling us every day to talk, and she's doing great. She's making new friends, enjoying her classes (well, most of them) and settling in nicely. So far, it's everything she hoped it would be, and I am very happy for her.
We came home late Sunday night, with just the van and only 8 kids. Monday we went back to homeschooling, and life here at home goes on. It all feels a bit surreal. Everyone says it only seems like A has gone to camp. It helps that she is calling to chat, so we know how her days are going. I can't imagine how hard it was for my parents to put me on that plane back to the States, not being able to go with me, and not having cell phones, email, texting, instagram, twitter, and facebook to keep in touch.
But, though we do miss A, we have started making changes. I have 2 boxes of stuff she didn't take with her that I need to find a safe home for. We would have left them in her room, except the hope/plan is to clean up a storage room to make a new room for her and R. And, we are working on moving V into the girls' room. C moved into A's top bunk, L moved into C's bottom bunk, and V now has the bottom bunk where L used to be. We'll have to move V back into our room when A comes home for breaks, until the other room is ready, but we'll make it work.
V slept in there Monday night, but woke up scared and crying ... and was brought to us bawling at 4 am. She finished the night in our bed. Tuesday night we tried again, and she fell out of bed at 1 am, and was brought to us again. Wednesday I finally found the bed rail and put it on for her. She actually slept all night long in her own bed last night, instead of the toddler bed in our room. Thankfully, she was eager each day to try again. She'll be 3 in 18 days, and she seems ready to move into their room. I'm sure she'll end up in our room fairly often, but it will keep getting better. (She's also warming up to potty training.)
So life is full of changes. I had to change my email signature which said, "Steve and April, Homeschooling ..." and listed all the kids. A friend pointed out that we aren't homeschooling A anymore, so I just took off the homeschooling part. But life goes on. On one of her last days here, A said it was weird to hear us making plans that didn't include her for later in the month.
It is weird. It is new. But it is life, and it is good.