Ostensibly, Laurie and I have been empty-nesters since Sammi first moved into the dorm at Hofstra six years ago. But since she was only twenty minutes away and made frequent visits for meals or to get laundry done, we've never really felt like she was gone. Even when she was in Italy for a month or down at CTY for six weeks, there was still the feeling that she hadn't really left.
Not so any more. Having taken a job teaching in an elementary school in Middlesex County, Virginia, Sammi has moved eight hours away. She'll be sharing a house with her good friend Vanessa (who is teaching one district over from Sammi) and doing a five-day-a-week commute to work. (When she was working as an RA and then as a graduate assistant in the Spirit Support office, Sammi seemed to be on duty 24/7, so this new schedule should actually feel easier.)
Sammi and I moved half of her stuff down there a couple of weeks ago. This morning, with her car loaded and her friends Jill and Rory in a second car (filled with items Sam had said would go "if they fit in the car"), she set off. At 4:30, she was happily ensconced in her new home, unpacking, putting together furniture, and generally getting ready for the next phase of her life.
As for Laurie and me, we'll be settling into the next phase of our lives as well. Tonight we played Scrabble (the old-fashioned way, with the board and tiles!) for the first time in many years, perhaps since Chuck was born.
With unlimited minutes on our phones, email, and Sammi's penchant for posting photos on Facebook, we'll still be hearing and seeing what she's doing. But Laurie won't be packing up dinners for Sam to take back to the dorm and my laundry piles won't suddenly swell because she's come by with a two-week load of dirty clothes.
And while I was tempted to end this entry with some words from the Beatles' very melancholy "She's Leaving Home," I think it is more appropriate to quote a different one of their songs...
"Oh blah-dee, oh blah-da, life goes on, la-la how the life goes on..."