We had Emma home visiting for a week. It was so nice to have her here. For about 4 years, until this last year when Emma went to Philmont then Provo, she was our only child at home. Caroline was married  and Holly was at BYU and then a mission. When Emma was little, I used to tell her that when Caroline and Holly were grown and gone, it would be just the two of us at home. Wouldn’t that be fun? She was not particularly enthused. I, on the other hand, looked forward to that day. I remember how fun it was when it was just Caroline and me at home and looked forward to that experience again with an older child. One that could appreciate the joys of Jane Austen films. (I tried, unsuccessfully, to recreate that one-on-one experience the best that I could with Holly by sending Caroline twice a week to Mother’s Day Out at the local Methodist church when Holly was about two years old. Holly would have none of it. She just wanted to go with Caroline.)

Emma got to be a companion for us in a way that we didn’t get to experience with Caroline and Holly. I’m glad we got that extended time together. We didn’t really do anything different than we did when she had her sisters here at home. It just felt different because there were no other demands for my attention. And Emma truly didn’t demand much herself. She was incredibly low-maintenance as a teen.

I have always thought it a good experience for young people to go away to school, to learn to manage their time and money, laundry and menus. And in the case of Emma, who wanted to go to cosmetology school instead of college, doing all of that with her older sister as her guide would be, I thought, a smoother transition since she would not get the benefit of a freshmen dorm segue to independent living. Provo has proven to be a more challenging move than I anticipated. I wish I could be there to make everything easy for her, but that would be defeating the purpose of going away to school.

In the animal world, parents literally chase their young away when it’s time for them to take charge of their lives. I’m glad we aren’t required to go to that extreme. Hopefully, if we’ve done our job as parents, our children want to leave and try new things and live new adventures. I’m so proud of Emma and the new life she is living. She has shown a lot of perseverance as she has faced unimagined challenges. I’m so impressed with the way she is intelligently questioning the world around her and coming to thoughtful, virtuous conclusions.

I used to tell people that I had my children young so that I would be young still when they left and it was just Rob and me. What fun we would have!

Well, we do have fun now. But  Emma leaving the nest has been harder than I thought it would be. For me.

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