The last bag to leave the house.
Winnie, one of our two cats, came sitting at the corner once the last bag was gone.
Siskel, one of our two Aussies, the moment after she left.
I'm not sure when the animals knew. I think Siskel realized first. He is the only other male in the house. Leave it to the two guys to be the emotional wrecks. He walks around with his head down knowing things have changed. Our other Australian Shepherd, Hooray, has taken to begging as though every piece of food in the house is part of her Last Supper. Perhaps that's why I've eaten half a cake in the last two days.
Winnie, the fluffy cat, will not really leave my other daughter's side or at least her bedroom. She comes out for occasional snacks and a peak around the kitchen cabinet corner to peer at the back door. She expects her to walk through any moment. I do too.
Right now a depressed black cat is sitting on the window ledge next to my table. Her tail draped long down the wall and her head stretched out in sadness over one paw on the wood sill. Her existence consists of either the depressed ledge, sitting at the bistro table waiting for her return, or pooping in front of the family room fireplace. She is kitty messaging. I hear you Flicka. I just can't change it.
When my two daughters were very young, I would walk them out to the bus stop helping them to carry either their 700 pound back packs filled with state mandated educational materials or their brown paper artwork lunch bags I had carefully crafted into the next Matisse. Sometimes both. We would stand at the end of the cul-de-sac and chat or be present in silence until the bus stopped a block away. Then I would lift their heavy burdens onto their shoulders and give them my impressive fatherly guidance: "Have fun. Do good work. And Pinch Your Teacher."
No matter what you do, you should enjoy it. That goes for college. It won't be easy. The best things never are. But have fun. Not too much. Just enough. (That was a joke.) I am positive you will do good work. You always do, especially for the things you love to do. Isn't that true for most of us? Pinching your teacher is a no-no. We all know it, but challenging them is something a student should do just as a child teaches a parent. Hearing, really deep hearing is essential.
As you drive
Fly my little one.
Be true self
Paint broad depth
Nature shines on sleeve.
Close and alluring.
Distance no trespass.
I sit here on this first day of my baby's college classes sipping my coffee; enjoying it a little less and yet a little more...bye.