If you have read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series, then you might recall that Mary, Laura's oldest sister, left home to attend a college for the blind. It was located hundreds of miles away from where Laura's family was living, which at that time meant a good deal of planning and expense. (Mary leaves for college in Little Town On The Prairie).
The night before she was to depart for college, Ma Ingalls asked Mary what she would like to eat for her last dinner at home, and Mary replied that anything Ma put on the table was good.
Well, yesterday was my turn to be like Ma Ingalls and ask our daughter what she wanted for her last dinner at home - for she was heading off to college too. She didn't give me any suggestions, so I ended up making chicken fajitas.
Then early this morning it was time to load up the car with her belongings and drive off to her new home, a college dorm. She's gone off before for a mission trip, school excursions and a summer camp, but this would be different. In fact, when your kid goes off to college, you realize that nothing will ever really be the same. And like probably all parents at this stage, you wonder just where the past 18 years has gone. And, of course, never to return.
But that is how it is - life changes, but life goes on. We were all sad as we said our goodbyes this afternoon, but we are truly glad for our daughter and this new beginning in her life. We hope that she makes great new friends and has great experiences!
And unlike Mary Ingalls, we know that it'll be a lot easier for our daughter to come home from college for a visit or vacations. In Little Town On The Prairie, two Christmases and one summer go by without a visit from Mary. That must have been very hard on the Ingalls family, and it's mentioned occasionally how much they miss her. It probably would have been easier on them if she had been able to come home more often.
Oh - and as far Mary's last meal at home: "It is so hot," Ma said. "I believe I will have cottage cheese balls with onions in them, and the cold creamed peas. Suppose you bring some lettuce and tomatoes from the garden, Laura." Cottage cheese balls with onions may not sound like much, but it would have been cottage cheese Ma made herself, with milk from their own cow. Imagine how nice and fresh that would have tasted!