This weekend is Ohio’s sales tax holiday for back to school shopping. I make the mistake of going to Office Depot over the weekend, to pick up name tags for the Helping Parents Heal kick off meeting. The place is full of kiddies and mommies loading up with back to school supplies. I realize Kayla has less than two weeks and she is headed back to the University of Toledo to start her junior year. Tywana has been stocking up on small appliances and other kitchen gear for Kayla’s first apartment. Time marches on. Time sucks.
Kayla’s friends are having an FAA (Filipino American Association) event in Toledo this weekend. (Do not ask why Kayla is in FAA- most of the people in it aren’t Filipino). Kayla has been missing her Toledo friends who stayed in Toledo this summer. They Snapchat her their activities and she feels like she is missing out. One of her high school friends has taken a job in South Carolina this summer, another is attending classes, another is working full time. Shayna’s not here. So, Kayla seems pretty bored hanging out with the two old people. She has told Tywana that she plans to stay in Toledo next summer since the rent on the apartment is year round and her best friend from high school doesn’t plan to come back to West Chester either. This makes me very sad.
Back to school time is always a bitter sweet time. The end of summer is fast approaching. Parents look at their kids who are one year older and advancing grades or moving on to college. Kids are excited to go to that next grade, taking a step toward their eventual freedom. Parents are happy to get them out of the house, but sad to know they are growing up. For us, it’s only the beginning of August, but I’ve already noticed the days getting shorter. Tywana joked as Kayla left on Friday “Well, it’s just the two of us again. It’s a good thing we like being with each other.” We know what this is like now. We did it last year. Ugh.
I knew the day would come when the girls would be gone from the house and it would just be the two of us. We talked about it. We weren’t going to let it sneak up on us. We planned for it. But, we never anticipated anything like this. This was supposed to be year three coming up with Shayna being home and Kayla in college. A year after Shayna transitioned it still feels wrong. Grocery shopping for two is still unnatural. Going out to dinner, even with Kayla, it just doesn’t feel complete. Kayla, even when she is here, is usually in her room sleeping or in her room watching Netflix or drawing. But, at least she’s here.
This back to school time will be three particularly tough ones in a row. Two years ago it was moving my baby into the dorm and knowing I wouldn’t see her for weeks or months at at time. But, that freshman year, I could look forward to Christmas and summer breaks. And we had Shayna who finally got to be an only child. The plan was to spoil her (even more) for four year while Kayla was at college and then begin to let her go. Last year, sophomore year, it was moving Kayla into her dorm and not having Shayna there bouncing off the walls as we unpacked her and not having Shayna there to soften the blow as we made that return trip home. We came home alone. Turning to walk away from Kayla was incredibly difficult. This year it’ll be moving Kayla into her apartment, another big leap towards her total independence. And this time she’s saying she’s not coming home next summer. I didn’t think it possible, but this year might be tougher than last.