Well, Here I Am

 In my big empty house (well, there's a husband around here somewhere), because apparently it's not MATURE to expect your kids to just HANG AROUND FOREVER just because they're funny and nice and you like being with them and they, like, CAME OUT OF YOUR BODY or whatever, but I'm supposed to let them GROW and BE FREE and FIND THEIR OWN PATH and shit. I have to LIVE MY OWN LIFE now or some crap along those lines. 


We moved Eve in last Wednesday and stayed until Saturday. Her residence is new and beautiful and, in a hilarious turn of events, absolutely dwarfs the puny residence Matt and I lived and met and felt like hot shit in, which is right next to it. I thought I took a picture illustrating the difference, but I guess I was too bowled over by the big res. 

Her room is wonderful, which is just such a gift, because she loves her room at home and it's her sanctuary and it was so hard to leave it, and the fact that she could kind of recreate that will really help. I went to McMaster and roomed with my best friend and my boyfriend lived upstairs, so it didn't matter that the room was crappy and small, I was fine. She's in a single with a bathroom that she shares with the girl in the single on the other side, who is absolutely lovely - they had connected online beforehand, and she literally came in (through the bathroom, which is always going to be a little bit funny to me) and said "do you want to go to dinner with me and a bunch of people I made friends with?" Then she came the next morning to take Eve over to the cafeteria for breakfast EVEN THOUGH she had already been to breakfast. She's like a Perfect Suitemate from Central Casting and I love her.

So we moved her in and got the bed made and some stuff unpacked, and then we went to dinner with our friends whose daughter is basically the one other person Eve knows at Mac, but hasn't seen since they were both nine. It's kind of a funny story - Elaine and I met in my friend's playgroup which was a group of women who had all met in childbirth class. We knew each other for a few months and then at a birthday party we were at either end of a long yard and our husbands were looking at each other going "wait, I know him, why is he here?" and Elaine and I were going "hell if I know, he's my friend's husband" and it turned out they had gone to a high school semester at the Ontario Science School in this program for weird smart science people. Eve and Holly haven't changed that much in the intervening years, but they're in difference residences so they can't go to each other's rooms at this point.

The next day we picked up Eve to shop for last-minute hardware and school stuff and snacks and then she snuck us back up to her room to put some stuff together and hang pictures. 

Then we went to dinner at Matt's brother's place - both the brother and his lovely wife are doctors who are actually on faculty at McMaster (yes, she is definitely surrounded by family and friends who will be there at a moment's notice if she needs anything, THIS STILL SUCKS FOR ME). My niece Lydia is a red-headed firecracker who frequently looks like she's plotting the downfall of her enemies and I adore her. We hadn't seen Mitchell since he was a baby (stupid Covid) and he is a delightfully giggly little force of nature. 

Friday we went back and walked around campus so Eve could find the building where her in-person class is and we could show her the places we spent most of our time when we were there. Some places were instantly familiar and some were a complete blank for the first few moments, which was extremely disconcerting. It was disorienting being there as a parent after only ever being there as a student. 

Matt's library (H.G. Thode - Science library)

My library (Mills Memorial - Arts library)

Once you get in past the ring of residences, the inner campus is a beautiful layout of old buildings and grassy paths. Eve said "wow, I feel like Rory Gilmore before she turned into an asshole".


As we were approaching the back of our old residence, she said "omg, there's a group of people playing soccer on the grass. It's literally like a brochure. Are all the races represented? Yep, it checks all the boxes!" 

On a sunny day, all the campus pictures look like brochure shots

Saturday we picked her up and drove into Westdale, the little town around the university, and had tea at a little cafe. Then we dropped her off and had lunch with Matt's former supervisor who is still at the university - we had seen my former professor at her cottage in Thunder Bay when we were there for the memorial, so this closed the loop. He and his wife live in a pretty little town a few minutes away from the university, where they both work, which is one of my dream alternate lives. I loved my time in university, but I did realize at a point during my master's that, as much as I love literature, I didn't really want to be a professor, so as much as I like to imagine walking around campus as an adult like I belong there, I'm okay passing that baton to my daughter. 

So that's what happened, and I'm just going to leave it there without getting into how I FEEL about what happened for now. As for my other child, he did text at one point "enough with the McMaster mumbo-jumbo, I'm FINE, thanks for asking!" So that's good. 


StephLove said…
I am feeling that first paragraph, sister, even though my nest is only half-empty. I miss him so goddamn much. Enough to curse in your comments, apparently.

It's sounds like she's off to a good start, though.
Tudor said…
Last weekend we went to Windsor and McMaster and Waterloo and can I just say I NEARLY DIED when I saw McMaster campus? We all did. We were coming around corners and yelling at each other, "LOOK AT THIS!" "OH MY GOD!" "IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL!" I think my daughter was silently rethinking her graduate school plans. Even my son, who was totally sold on Windsor was quietly blown away. Before the campus visits I'd say he was thinking 95 percent Windsor, three percent McMaster, and two percent Waterloo. Now I'd say it's one percent Waterloo (sorry, but when nobody will actually give you a tour, and you can only look at the campus, and the campus looks like that ... well you slip), with Mac at about 49 percent on beauty alone, and Windsor at 50 percent. If Mac comes up a couple of percentage points, I'll totally carpool with you on Hamilton drives next year!
Lol, oh Angus!!! Glad he's fine too!

What a beautiful campus, and her room is a dream and so is her suitemate! It IS like the brochure! It's all so wonderful, except maybe on your end, the empty nest part isn't so wonderful. I hope she has an excellent semester and will she be back for Thanksgiving?

I have those dream alternate lives too, I'm happy with the one I have but sometimes I wonder what might have happened. Also, I walked through U of C back in our first lockdown (just the outer campus, not inside, obviously) and it was so weird.
Shawna said…
I haven't had to deal with my kids leaving the nest yet, but it does sound like a perfect transition into university life for your daughter.

I went to Waterloo and loved it - the residence, the coursework, the campus, all of it - and I've always said that being offered a job there would be the only career that would tempt me to chuck my current career path. This week is officially my 30 year anniversary of my own frosh week and meeting my BFF, and her daughter now attends the school we met at 30 years ago. My daughter is seriously considering the school of architecture there these days, though she's got 3 more years to make a decision and something else could catch her eye before then. And that would be fine with me, but I do think it would be kind of cool if it happens.
the queen said…
How wonderful for your child, how not wonderful for you. I hope you adjust well. Thinking of you.
Lynn said…
So sad but so happy too. Congrats to Eve and sounds like she is going to be thriving at Mac. And also - is your niece the cutest child ever, including my own? YES SHE IS.
Ernie said…
Oh, this is hard but also fun. Is the bed in her dorm a full size bed? Not a twin? I love her room - it has a view! What in the world? Is it too late for me to go back to college? I'm only half joking - escaping my current circumstances is definitely a big part of my motivation.

Your niece and your description of her is priceless. Love Matt sitting on a toddler chair enjoying a tea party, I assume.

Oh, and I also adore her suitemate. It sounds a little that girl is channeling her inner Tank - he could always do a meal again. Eve makes me smile. Her take on the soccer game - honestly, I felt like Mini would've made a similar comment. And how funny is not-to-be-forgotten Angus?

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