Five days later, my little mother in law has moved on. Moved into her own apartment. Did she want to do this? No. Did she know that she had to do this? Yes. Did we want her to leave? No, not really. As much as we were all concerned about out houseguest coming and staying and staying and staying ... we were all a bit sad to see her go.
Will we ever see her again? Of course. In fact, we'll see her tomorrow. But still. It is a bit painful to watch someone you know separate and go on their way, especially when they don't want to.
When Elizabeth went to her very first day care back in 1991, I took an entire day off work to help her adjust, and mind you, she was only 4 months old. I doubt she even knew that I was peeking in on her four different times and then planning my entire week around when I would drop her off and pick her up.
When Elizabeth went to the Warner Bros. Day Care Center back in 1993, I went, too. They almost had to surgically remove me from the classroom. Those blocks just kept calling my name.
And in 1996, I couldn't stand for my precious little baby to go to after school care after her first two days of kindergarten ... so her mommy skipped out on work on those days and picked her up at 3:00. Work could wait.
When Liz entered a new school for 2nd grade and had to take the bus on the first day? Mom drove along behind the bus, so she would know I was there. Yeah, Liz didn't care ... it was for Mom's sake. And when Liz went out for recess on the very first day? Stalker Mom was parked just outside the fence, just outside of Liz' view. Yes, I'd taken that day off work, too.
By now you are thinking the worst of me, right? Well, go ahead. I did the same thing when Liz entered a brand new 5th grade. Mom was still parked outside for the first recess. Just making sure her little baby had a friend to play with.
Okay ... so now you're wondering if my child ever grew up out of Mommy's clutches? No. I did the same thing when we moved to Texas right before Elizabeth entered her sophomore year of high school. Yes, I placed her in summer school the summer before she was to enter the 10th grade and I made arrangements to meet her teacher, too. I worried so much about who she would eat lunch with that I only put her into the morning session and had her avoid all of that awkwardness.
Did I ever outgrow the desire to make life comfortable for my child? Yes. But then I took it all up again when I had to place my own mother in an assisted living facility. It nearly broke my heart to leave my mom in an apartment in one of those places ... and to watch her have to go to the dining room and eat ... with strangers.
So, all that to say that my heart is aching for my mother in law tonight.
But. I've passed down my fears to my child. In a good way, though. Elizabeth is spending the night, the very first night with my mother in law. You know, so she won't feel alone in her brand new apartment, in a brand new city, in a brand new state.
My only regret? I forgot to pack Elizabeth a lunch box.