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Aug 16, 2009

New Era

Yesterday was a momentous day for my family, a day that we have been talking about for years, simultaneously dreading and looking forward to. A day so long in coming that it felt wrong that the day finally arrived.

Yesterday, my Littlest Sister went off to college.

She is 11 years younger than I am, meaning that she was seven when I moved out of my parents’ house to forge my own path. Since that time, she has been growing up, as young girls are wont to do, watching and learning from her three big sisters. She has many times said that she is by far the most mature of any of us, a statement that is not entirely impossible. She is spunky and weird and loves being that way. We tease her about being “alternative” but she is truly her own bird.

Friday night, the Baby Mama and crew threw her a little going away dinner, which gave us all a chance to be together before she left. It was a lovely time, with no awkwardness or sadness until the very end. As far as I know, she is not much of a weeper, but saying goodbye to Colin and The Best Nephew Ever would make anyone choke up. She and our mother left to finish packing her up, while I stayed at the Baby Mama’s with our other sister, drinking wine and telling stories and trying to predict the future.

Saturday morning, bright and early, my father loaded his truck full of Littlest Sister’s worldly possessions and came to pick me up. He and I were the ones chosen to take her to school, about an hour away, because she had decided that we were the most likely to get her there, get her set up, and get out with the minimal amount of tears or sentimentality involved. I hope I lived up to her expectation.

I was honored to go and we had a great time. My father sang the school’s fight song all the way there. We played Punch University Billboard once we were close enough for advertising. I told stories of my college dorm days and how completely fabulous living on campus is, though, to be honest, you couldn’t pay me enough to go back. Boy, they were good times, though.

Once we arrived on campus, the excitement in the air was palpable. There were so many young, fresh faces, thrilled and terrified, all coupled with one or two older, equally terrified faces of the parents. My father and I walked in there like pros. Dropping a kid off at school? Please. This is Number Four. Don’t expect drama from us, we’ve totally done this already.

We walked into her dorm and I found that I could not wipe the grin off my face. Even though this school is in a different state than mine, old dorms are just not that different. No air conditioning, narrow, tiled hallways, and dark, cramped little rooms. Home. Littlest Sister’s room is just across the hall from what used to be the phone booth, which now houses a garbage can, and the restrooms. She’s also next door to the RA. I laughed at her misfortune in that regard and she rolled her eyes, telling me that she wouldn’t be getting into trouble, that doing so was immature. I laughed again.

We got her stuff unloaded, assembled, and put away. I made her bed as she shelved books. My father gathered and disposed of boxes. And then there seemed to be nothing left for us to do.

I wasn’t quite ready to go yet. I wanted to make sure that New Roomie’s father put together the TV stand properly, but Littlest Sister caught my eye. She was ready. My feelings on the matter were not relevant.

Okay, then.

So we said our see-ya-soons, exchanged brief, tight hugs and we left. We left her there, in that dark little room with a stranger and her father. We left her with no way to get home and no food (except for Mountain Dew, which has enough calories and caffeine to power a person for a week). It seemed so barbaric to leave her half-unpacked in that hotter than hot room. She wiped away a tear as we walked out the door, but that was that. Just as she wanted. No fuss, no long goodbyes. Good girl.

Amazingly, it became night and then it was day again, like yesterday had been any other day. The sun rose this morning and my first thought was of Littlest Sister. I sent a text message asking if she’d survived the night. Her response:

“Doing fine I went to this big bash thing last nite and won a huge rock paper scissors contest and everyone was even chanting my name it was kinda awesome!”

I laughed out loud, texted back my congratulations, and silently hoped that they teach grammar and punctuation in college.

5 Readers rock!:

Anonymous said...
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XE said...

Ah, the first days of uni. So stressful, and yet you look back on them so fondly, eh?

(Oh there I go doing that Canadian thing again... I can't help it!)

Quick question: how heavy are the hand weights you're using for the 30 day shred? I think maybe I'm using ones that are too heavy...

Katie! said...

Hi Xavier!

I started The Shred with 8 lb weights and very quickly ditched them for cans of pinto beans. No, seriously. I like my 8 lb weights for true weight work, but they are tooooooo much for this workout. I alternate between cans of pinto beans and a liter (or litre, as you might say) of water, depending on how my arms are feeling.

I read somewhere that for toning, you should use more than 5 lb weights. More than that is for actually building visible muscle. I don't really need that at the moment.

Shred on, my friend!

XE said...

Thanks Katie! I had been using 5 pound weights, but my biceps were absolutely dying all the time. I thought that since I had no trouble with any other parts of the workout that maybe my weights were simply too heavy, but I guess I just need to work on my upper body strength :) I'm thinking about starting level 2 today, we'll see... eek!

Dragonfly said...

Re the punctuation/grammar, I tend to cringe when reading things like that as well. My sister is only about 2 years older than yours would be, but she does it. In informal contexts is one things, but getting it in what should be a formal/professional context in emails from educated, "grown ups" often has me blinking...