When My Baby Girl Left For College…


I miss her so much. My youngest child. My only girl. My ally in the house of hormones. Oh, of course I raised her to leave— prepared her for college so she could fly away and pursue her own education, see the world, meet new friends, develop her own life. And I love her school. She loves her school. But I didn’t realize just how much I’d miss her. Yesterday I woke up feeling particularly melancholy.

Wanting to feel close to my daughter, but not wanting to call and upset her, I schlepped my coffee and the dogs to her room, clamored into her bed and called my husband to upset him with my tears. Next to the tissues on my daughter’s nightstand were the last six issues of Entertainment Weekly. I never get to read that magazine when she’s home. In a couple hours I was caught up on the entertainment world, caffeinated and ready to get dressed.

I opened her closet to see what she left behind. Jackpot! Not only did I find some fabulous hand me down jeans (one pair yielded a dollar in the front pocket!) and a super warm comfy sweater, I also found three of my sweaters, a coat and 2 shirts she’d “borrowed”. And the purses! I just started shopping for a new one but now I can save my money and use hers.

I stopped short when I passed her mirror—middle-aged puffy-from-crying eyes don’t recover as fast as they used to. I sat down at her makeup table and discovered the lighting in her room is far better than my bathroom. When I started rifling through her drawers it was like having carte blanche at a department store beauty counter—I was in girly girl heaven! I played with her makeup brushes, blow dryer and endless cans and bottles of goo. Turned out the afternoon sun, besides being especially good for tweezing, also makes her bed a cozy winter nap spot. The dogs were once again more than happy to keep me company.

After my nap, I was still a wee bit down from missing my baby girl, but mostly hungry and craving chocolate. It dawned on me as I was on my 5th Fannie May Mint Meltaway (an annual birthday present from my friend Sheila to me and only me thank you very much) this was the first year I didn’t have to hide the box from my chocolate-loving daughter.

My son texted, “On way home. Need anything?”  It was at that moment I realized since his sister returned to school, there hadn’t been a fight over who got the car when. I replied, “Only if you want dinner tonight,” and continued painting my toenails with a fabulous selection of left behind nail polish.

My husband arrived home with a bottle of  Chardonnay and his, OhGawdPleaseLetHerNotBeCrying look. He found me standing on our daughter’s dresser measuring the windows. On her desk were my sketches for converting her bedroom into my dream sewing and craft room.

“I guess you’re feeling a bit better now?”

“Yeah, a wee bit. Hand me that pencil, will you?”

Copyright 2011 Karen Rinehart


About Author

Karen J Rinehart is an award winning newspaper columnist, author, speaker, wife, mom and dog owner—all crammed into a fabulously petite frame. See her in action on KarenJRinehart.com.