You Can’t Tell Me What to Do
Posted by wendiwendy
I haven’t lived in the same town as my daughter since 2012, when she went off to college. Well, there was one week in 2013 when she did come to stay with us, but then she took off for new adventures.
She’s been living in Delavan, Wisconsin, which wasn’t too bad when it came to traveling back to our Chicago suburb – I think it involved a couple of different trains, but we did get to see her. Still, she’s been working a couple of retail jobs so between the long distance and the fact that she usually has to work on holidays, we managed to go two Thanksgivings in a row without seeing her. We also had to celebrate Christmas a week early last year because she wasn’t able to be there on the actual day.
I know that’s how it goes when your kids get older and get their own lives, but we really did miss her. Once we moved to Michigan, it became even more of a challenge for her to visit. She doesn’t have a car, and she would have to get a car ride to northern Illinois, then a train to Chicago, and then a train from there to either our town (Amtrak) or to South Bend, Indiana (Metra) – over four hours of traveling. Even by car it is well over three and a half hours, I think.
A few weeks ago she had been asking me questions about apartments in our town. I told her that sure, there are lots of affordable apartments here, but you really do have to have a car to get around. I suppose if you live right near the downtown area and you have a job down there, you could walk – but we get a LOT of snow here and winters last a good four to five months.
I knew she was having trouble with her current roommates and living situation, and I didn’t hear anything more about it so I assumed she either worked things out or found a new place in Wisconsin. Then about 10 days ago, Dave called me over to his computer.
“Have you seen this?” he asked, pointing to the screen. It was a Facebook status from Paige, saying she was moving to Michigan in nine days. We were both gobsmacked. We read the comments, and someone asked what town she was moving to. She replied with the town that we live in. Someone else said, “I thought this was supposed to be a surprise for your mom?” and Paige said she had me blocked from the status. (But she didn’t – Facebook privacy changes or something – and also, a few other family members saw and asked us about it.)
At first we thought she was going to show up on our doorstep and ask to move in – we couldn’t figure out how else she could move here and be able to get around town. But then I couldn’t figure out how she would actually get here without a car. It turns out that a friend of hers used to live here, and he was moving back – he got an apartment, a car for them to use, and she is splitting the rent with him.
So then I had to go for another week or so and pretend I didn’t know, which was really hard for me. We had a little Facebook chat one day where she asked when we were decorating the Christmas tree, for instance. I thought maybe she was in town early and would show up and surprise us, so I set aside some of her favorite ornaments for her to put on the tree. (She didn’t get here that day, darn.)
Then she posted pictures of the apartment, and Dave couldn’t resist commenting on them. I told him I thought it was still supposed to be a surprise, but he figured she would have blocked us from the photos if that was the case. So then the secret was out, and I was able to be properly excited. We just weren’t sure exactly what day she would get here. We did get a chance to drive by and check out the location of her apartment, which is the lower level of a house and is actually not far from downtown. Very cute, and we were really happy for her.
Earlier this week, we were making breakfast when the phone rang. Paige was finally in Michigan! Dave gave her directions and we planned to get together that day. We weren’t even done cooking our eggs when I saw the car pull up in the driveway. I can’t even tell you how good it felt to finally give her a hug – the first one since I last saw her in July! And she actually got to put her ornaments on the tree that day.
I’ve always known that Paige is the type to do the exact opposite of what you tell her. If you say she can’t do something, she will stubbornly find a way to do just that. (Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not, especially when she was younger.) So after I put a damper on her plans to come here, she managed to find a roommate, a place to live, transportation, and get her job transferred to a location right here in town. And now we get to see her on Christmas!
Just in case she’s reading, let me close with this: No, Paige – you cannot become President of the United States. 😉