For seventeen years, I’ve wondered at what point would I have given Bella enough love and protection that she could step forward on her own. The first year seemed pretty darn important – and then so were all the ones up to the age of seven when I heard – that’s the time when lifelong preferences were being set, the number of firing neural connections in the brain developing, and the ability to trust and love blossoming. I wanted to know at what age would she be okay if some thing happened to me – at what age could she survive and still flourish? How old before I could stop worrying?
At some point I just gave up. Besides the fact that I knew young adults in their twenties still reeling from the double deaths of their parents, I realized that there was no definitive point where Bella would be an adult. I had to be there for her and spend as much time with her as I could while I still could. As strange as it may sound coming from somebody who considers herself upbeat and optimistic, I’ve spend Bella’s entire life scared sick that something would happen to me, or worse to her.
Yesterday, Chad, Christian, and I helped Bella move into her room at UCLA. She has officially moved out. I thought I was prepared for it. I’d already cried the previous night. And Bella and I had spent all week hanging out together.
But when I got her phone message last night: a teary “I love you Mom, and I miss you already. Thanks for helping me move into my room.” I burst into tears again and I’ve been crying off and on ever since.
My nest isn’t empty, but it sure feels emptier. Sad.
P.S. No phone calls from Bella today, so I suspect she’s feeling more herself and upbeat. She did txt to tell me that she’d spent the day in Westwood, attending work-study meetings, and hanging out in various dorm rooms. Here’s pics of her (triple occupancy!!) room from yesterday.