by David Porter
The big wedding is less than two weeks away. Our baby girl will be moving out and moving on.
She’s been counting down the day for months now. I’ve been treating it like an appointment for a colonoscopy. You know it’s coming up but you just don’t want to think about it.
Our son came with our marriage, so my wife and I have never been together without kids in the house for the 22 years we’ve been married. What are we going to talk about when it’s just the two of us?
That’s just one of the questions that Laura’s denesting brings up. (Yeah, “denesting.” It’s a real word — that I just made up.) Other questions include things like: What will we do with all the money we save? Who’s going to clutter up the staircase? And what am I going to do with her bedroom?
She seems to think that her bedroom will continue to be her personal storage space for as long as she wants. I’m thinking it will make a nice office. Her mother is thinking it should become a guest room that is actually a guest room instead of a multi-use room with a bed. I don’t know how long we’re obligated to keep her room looking like it’s her room, but I’m thinking two days should be sufficient.
The soon-to-be newlyweds have already secured an apartment and have been moving stuff into it. Blending two people’s stuff together for the first time in their lives is always an interesting and challenging thing. They’ll have to decide what to keep and what to leave behind. In many ways, it’s leaving childhood behind and moving into adulthood. When you have to share space, your priorities change as you negotiate and make concessions. For the groom, it might not be as bad because he has a slew of siblings. Except he’s the oldest, which means having the ability to pull rank that he might not be able to pull anymore. Laura has a brother but he’s much older and has been out of the house for 12 years. She’s been raised like an only child. We’ll see how she does in her new sandbox.
We helped her move a few things last weekend. The apartment is on the third floor which is another challenge — for me, anyway. When Penny and I married, we lived in a third-floor apartment but we were 22 years younger then. Third-floor apartments should come with their own oxygen masks.
The apartment is in an old school, so it has really wide hallways and stairs. I think they could take half the width of the stairs and put in slides. That doesn’t help climbing up the steps but it would make the trip back down more fun. And faster.
Maybe if I make enough trips up and down the stairs, I won’t have the energy to walk her down the aisle. And if I can’t do that then they can’t get married, right? Isn’t that how this works? It’s not that I don’t want her to ever get married; I think when she turns 35 or 40, it would be a great thing. She’s barely 21. Which means there’s not a dang thing I can do about it.
I know we’re at the end of this chapter, and she’s ready to turn the page. But I want to go back and reread the first half of this book. I guess I’m having a little trouble letting go. When they ask, “Who gives this young woman away?” I’m liable to shout, “Not me!” I just hope I set the foundation right — solid and level — as she and her groom build their new life together. Life: singular. They’re not building their lives together. They’re building their life together. One life. If they can understand that, they’ll do all right.