When a Family Becomes a Family
My daughter grew up yesterday. Granted, anyone who knows her realizes she was actually grown up at 5, but recently, it happened for good. We moved her from her dime-sized San Francisco apartment to a 130-year old Petaluma farmhouse.
She is officially moving in with her boyfriend Bryce, who owns the sprawling property. After packing boxes and taking a few harrowing rides over the Golden Gate Bridge with mattresses and bookshelves, we made it. And unpacked her and said goodbye.
It was different than when we dropped her off at college, 20 minutes away from our home, when her father, brothers and I sobbed all the way home. It was different than when I moved her out of the dorm the following spring, when all we cared about was getting Thai food for lunch. It was different than when her dad and brother moved her to her Berkeley apartment, where she made lifelong friends. It was even different than when we all moved her into her San Francisco apartment after two years at home post-college -- and barely fit in the door.
But it was that apartment located on Taylor Street, halfway between Nob Hill and the Tenderloin, where she found her groove. She had a posse of good friends, a good job (even though I hated the 35-minute walk she took to the office each day) and even met the love of her life while living there.
After four years of city living, it was time. Love trumped the city, for now. Who knows. Maybe they'll move back.
However, when we dropped her off yesterday, it wasn't just because it was a convenient way to save money for the young couple. They had a puppy together, survived illnesses together and were ready to start their own little family together. No baby or wedding yet, as Mando the puppy is enough for now. Frannie needs to learn how to take care of a houseplant first.
When the wedding and babies come, God willing, I don't know if I'll feel as emotional as I do today. We are no longer Frannie's first family-- nor should we be, I guess, since she's 28, and by the time I was her age I was a mother.
But it's still hard to cut those ties that bind.
And don't even get me started on Mary and Charlie, who moved into their first condo together in San Diego two weeks ago...