Cara's birthday was Thursday. Unfortunately, I could not travel to Clarion until last night. I hauled my KitchenAid mixer. The plan was to make a birthday cake, and whip up a batch of pepperoni rolls.
During the 1 1/2 hour drive there, I reminisced. I remember the first time we drove there, dropping her off at college. I cried almost all the way home after leaving her. It was no different. I always cry the first time I drop a kid off, or watch them head out for that first time. It feels like such an ending, but it's not. It's a beginning, and it is theirs.
Cara is no longer in the dorms. She and her friend Taylor have an apartment, and the girls had raved so much about homemade pepperoni rolls that Rukie was coming over to sample "those little bites of heaven" she'd heard so much about.
I got there and had a couple hours alone with Cara. The apartment is small and neat. Although the furniture came from here, there, and everywhere, it all matches nicely. Vivaldi played on Cara's record player, and we baked together. She unwrapped her presents and we laughed together. She told me that she just felt like 22 was going to be a momentous year for her, and I had to smile inside...I am turning 55 this year, and I feel like this will be a momentous year for me as well.
Rukie came bearing the sauce, and we watched an "Affair to Remember," and the girls sighed at the dresses and the romance and Cary Grant. They groaned at the cuteness of the children and their songs, and they rolled their eyes at the stupidity of Deborah Kerr ~ why didn't she just TELL him, for pete's sake?
When Taylor came home, she was in need of consolation. Her second day as a waitress netted her just $2.68 in tips. She had just one customer, which was a big improvement from the previous day when she had none at all. We plied her w/ carbs and sympathy. It seemed to help.
It was a pleasant night, and I slept on the futon in the livingroom. How much has changed since that first day of college. When I left this morning, there were no tears at all, just a satisfied feeling that I have a daughter who is self sufficient and resourceful, funny and intelligent. It made me glad.