Kelly has begun the process of buying her own home. She's been house hunting since January 2017. It's been a long tedious process, and also a frustrating one filled with highs and lows. She wanted to find a home in which she could be happy, and have plenty of room for her library and a train room, and with room for all her various collections. The problem has been that the market cannot support the demand. When a nice house she could afford came on the market there were already bids on it before she could even contact her realtor to arrange a showing. Occasionally the buyer removed the house from the market because they couldn't find a house they liked and panicked. Other times people showed up at open houses with their designers and you got a feeling of defeat before you'd even stepped through the door to see the house. You knew it was already contingent. Other houses looked great in photographs posted on MLS but in reality were not so hot. Several houses had mysterious water pooled on the basement floors. We don't like mystery water puddles in basements.
But finally, she found a house she liked, viewed it with her realtor, put in an offer, negotiated, and then when the seller agreed to her offer, arranged for a second showing with her realtor so she could take us to see the house. Now she is jumping through the hoops, signing papers, setting up the house inspection, looking for the bank/lender with the lowest rate, making lists of things to do, fielding phone calls, all the while working her full time job. her father and I have stepped back. She, at not quite 26 years of age, is buying a house, not us. She's an adult now and we are her parental safety net.
I am waxing nostalgic tonight. It wasn't that long ago, when she wasn't even two years old, that I would send her to her room if she needed time out. I soon discovered that she liked time out because that meant she could sit on the floor in front of her bookcase and look through many of her favorite storybooks n her own. I caught her doing this...and it is one of my favorite pictures of her sitting there, surrounded by books, looking at me as I snapped her picture, her finger pointing to a picture in the book because I had interrupted her telling herself the story as she remembered me reading it aloud. she had a huge library for a toddler and it kept growing to over a thousand books through the years. Many series and individual books have found their way to various library book sales and have been passed along via tag sales, but there are a few cartons containing favorite storybooks for her t take to her new home along with her own personal library she's accumulated through the years, including a lot of books on railroads and especially trolleys.
It seems like a long time ago I closed the toy box lid. She had outgrown those toys. Now she juggles, writes, repairs vintage trolley cars, fences, reads a lot still, and has started her own collection of tools she uses to work on the trolleys. She has the big LEGO Collector town series, some of them build but then we ran out of storage room in the cellar so many of them remain to be built. One room n her house will be for these Lego buildings and her collection of LEO trains. She also has a small N-scale railroad table her father built for her, and many cars and engines to display. Her house will be filled with all the things that she is interested in, including antique fire grenades (early fire extinguishers from Victorian times), vintage soda bottles, vintage ink bottles, and some plush animals- a menagerie of souvenirs of a quarter century lifetime, plus two years.
Although it makes me sad and a little anxious to see her on the verge of moving out of the nest, I am looking forward to seeing how she sets up her home, what colors she chooses, what furniture she finds to make it her home. What will her signature stamp on her own home be like? I look forward to going over for visits, maybe sitting at the table in her house and writing like we've done here for years.
I's not easy, as a parent, to accept the fact that one's job of raising one's child is over, and now we are passing into the letting her test her wings at their full extent, catch the wing and soar into her future. I'm proud of her, of who she has grown up to be. I never told her who she was, I let her discover herself through all the things we did while she was growing up. That's how my mother raised my sister, brother and me. She gave us guidelines and love and let us find who we were ourselves. she never criticized, she never said I told you so, she never said we were wrong, she just asked, what did you learn from this and then she'd give us a hug and we'd be go to go again. We knew she was always there, like Kelly knows that her father and I will always be there...but as a aren't you have to step back and let go and let them live their own life and be happy.
That's really all I wish for her as she takes this big step forward- I wish for her to be happy.
I accept that she has grown up. I can look at her and be proud of her. I can be satisfied with what I did, how I raised her and guided her and gave her room to grow, didn't crowd her and hover over her constantly, didn't do everything for her. She found herself, found her path herself and she is happy.
She just needs to get through this nerve-wracking house buying ritual-the mountain of paperwork and list of things to do...and then the fun part of decorating, buying furniture and moving in will begin!
It struck me tonight- my daughter has grown up and although I am still her mother, the kind of mothering that she needs has changed...and I can accept that.
Maybe I'll go put my feet up and read a book! The raising part is over. The loving and guiding and being there part remains and always will remain. We both can live with that!