I keep thinking Ally is going to burst in, with a raucous roar, tromp through the kitchen, turn up the tv and leave 10 pairs of shoes in the entryway. But so far, it’s just Riley and Peter.
And Riley doesn’t wear shoes.
I notice it most in the afternoon, when Ally would be home. It feels unusually quiet then. Instead of asking my daughter what I have been asking her for the last 14 years–“How was your day,” I just think it inside my head–“I wonder how her day is?” Nobody answers. It’s troubling. HOW IS SHE?
Her texts are brief. Yes and no. Her dad gets a little more, but not much. I want to know things like how she is doing with her laundry and the gang bathroom. What it’s like for her to have have to wake up on her own, and go to a dining hall. Is it loud? Can she sleep? Are the boys cute? You know, the important stuff.
I have done some cleaning in their rooms. I am more used to Jake’s room being unoccupied. It doesn’t feel as strange. I know he will come home again. But Ally’s loud room is so silent. I am changing the curtains and putting down a different rug. I see that I need some changes to make me feel the bigger change at bay. To make me understand that what i have here is an empty nest and a momma bird who hasn’t gotten the text that the kids have flown.
It’s not the same house, so it shouldn’t look like the same house is what my heart is telling me. But it’s not really in the budget to paint right now. I will just keep shifting stuff around until it feels like a house where all the kids are at college and the mom talks to the dog.
I might be a little sad today. I think that’s why I’m crying. Or maybe it’s just the weather. But more than likely it’s because I miss my girl.