smells like teen spirit

She’s overboard and self-assured.

At least, that’s how I felt my first day moving into my college dorm room years ago.

Ok, we don’t necessarily need to point out exactly how long ago.

Today’s DWC is focused on the “end of an era.” It made me think back to my first day at college and what my parents might have been going through.  It was a much more crazy day than my character’s family dealt with.

Mine was filled with all types of stuff being hauled in and out of hallways. New students passing each other, bumping into each other, knocking boxes out from each other, all wide-eyed and pretending to be confident.

My high school friend and his parents were on the floor above me getting Randy* settled into his dorm.  Not fifty feet away from me, my future husband was moving into his.  I wouldn’t meet Pilot for three more weeks.

I wonder how many times my parents and I must have passed him and his parents in the hallways that first day.  It boggles the mind how my life literally changed directions, all under the same roof in a matter of months.

For my mom and dad, today’s DWC is for you.

*Name has been changed for privacy

Daily Writing Challenge

Day 22: Today is the end of an era in your characters life. How do they feel about this? What is happening today? Write a scene of your character on this day.

Looking around the tiny space, it still amazes me how all of that furniture fit in one room.  The shelves above and below the bed, the tiny desk, and the part mini refrigerator, part microwave combination.  Ellie began to hang her clothing in the closet. I helped setup some family photos while Henry setup her computer.

A flash appeared in my mind.  A five-year-old Ellie standing with her Sesame Street backpack and her pigtails in the middle of her kindergarten classroom.

“No, Mommy! Don’t go! I don’t want to be here!”

I crouched down to her eye level and gave her a squeeze.  “Honey, it’s going to be fine. You’re going to make new friends and your teacher Mrs. Johansen is nice.”

Ellie’s lip trembled. “But I want to go home!”

I gave her a squeeze.  “Ellie, this is your first day of school, and I know it can be scary. But I’ll be back at lunchtime and we’ll go out for a family lunch to celebrate!”

Henry picked Ellie up and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “That’s right, sweetie pie! We can go anywhere you want.”

Ellie’s eyes lit up. “Even the place with the big bird?”

Henry laughed, “Yes. We can go to Red Robin.”  He gave her a conspiratorial look, touching his forehead to hers.  “You might even get a balloon if you’re good for Ms. Johansen.” Ellie’s eyes widened as she gasped.

“I’ll be good Daddy! I promise!  Love you!” She said squirming to get to her cubby.

Henry laughed.  “Good girl!” he said setting her down.  “Now go put your backpack away in that special cubby Ms. Johansen picked just for you.”

I watched her pigtails bounce as she ran to halfway to her cubby, then stop.  She whipped around and ran back to me.

Ellie, my precious baby girl gave me a kiss on the cheek. She smelled like baby shampoo and Ellie-ness.  I squeezed her again as tears pricked at the corners of my eyes.

“Mommy, I can’t breathe!” she said, her voice muffled by my shoulder.

“Sorry honey. I hope it’s a terrific first day!”  I released her a little bit, kissing her forehead.

“Love you Mommy! Bye Daddy!”

I watched as she scampered away.  Now I was seeing Ellie standing in her college dorm room tentatively as if waiting for an answer.

“I’m sorry, honey. What was that?” I blinked.

Ellie rolled her eyes.  “I was just saying the RA’s are probably going to want us to assemble soon.”

“Oh.”  I paused.  “Are you sure you have enough pillows and blankets?  Winters get awfully cold here.”

“Mom, I’m fine. I have everything I need,” she said smiling at me, slinging her arm around my shoulder.  She glanced around.  “In fact, I think I have enough blankets to create a giant pillow fort for me and twelve roomates.”

“Louise, leave Ellie alone. She’s going to be fine,” Henry said taking my hand in his, gently pulling me away.

Ellie put her hands on her hips. “Besides, I’m going to come home and see you in a couple of weeks after orientation and after I get used to my class schedule,” shooing us out the door.  I broke free from Henry’s steering to give her one more hug.

Henry and I pulled away from the curb. A sniffle escaped as the car wound down the road.  As we continued, a tear escaped down my cheek.  Henry handed me the box of tissues.

“Oh, Louise. She’ll be fine.  You’ll be fine.”

I wiped the tears from my eyes. Glancing over at Henry, I swiped a tissue and handed him one.

“Oh, hell,” was all he said as he took my hand.  We watched Ellie’s figure which was waving goodbye to us shrink in the mirrors.

“She’s all grown up now, Henry.  What do we do?”

“Same thing we did before.”  He glanced at me and smiled.  “We send her off into the world, hope we’ve taught her enough to do the right things and pray she’ll always want to come back to us.”

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