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Venn Diagram and Keeping A Stiff Upper Beak as First Birdy Flies

Erin at her new apartment in Vermont, with Justin.

On the heels of a wonderful trip to Italy with Sean for our 25th anniversary, we rapidly switched gears to move our first born, recent college-grad Erin, 22,  to Vermont. She graduated in May and trudged around for a bit in the  “what-next-mode?” job search, where to live, what to do. Erin was eyeing Oregon or Vermont, when fate/cupid stepped in and she started a wonderful relationship with a great guy, Justin, (also recent college grad)… from Vermont. Her job/life search became very pointed the end of this summer. She began applying everywhere to find a job in her field (marketing/communications) and a place to live—in Vermont.  Yea, Vermont, not Oregon!

Long distance relationships are difficult at best, and after long weekends traveling to be together and for Erin to go on job interviews, it really wasn’t a surprise that the two decided to pool their resources and get their own apartment.  Erin landed a viable job assignment through one of two job temp agencies in the Burlington, VT area and started earlier this month. She is working customer service for a window treatment manufacturer, an “in” that might lead her to the company’s newly-forming marketing department. The third day she was there, she overheard their need for a marketing person, and she waved her resume and said, “Hey, I have degree!”

Go, Erin!

So how do I feel about my first birdy flying out of the nest? Happy for her. She is well-equipped, proactive, newly employed! Hopeful for them (Justin is a really good man and we see he loves her well!). Confident that Erin is ready for her new life. This is what Sean and I wanted for her, and want for her brother— to be self-sufficient and happy.

She’s on her way!  She’s happier than I’ve ever seen her in her whole life these past few months (glowing, dancing, prancing, smiling, Skypping, phoning—all the earmarks of new, but true love!) Thanks be to God!

Of course there has been a bit of bittersweet with the  transition. Mama tears, Erin tears, heart-to-heart conversations, hugs, hugs, hugs. Time has flown. I remember the day she was born, the first time I held her, I said, “We have a lot to learn together, you and me.”

We learned how to navigate and enjoy every stage: infancy, toddler, preschool, elementary through high school. The joys, challenges, marvels… Letting go a bit that first day of Haddam-Co-Op Nursery school, again on that first day as she climbed on the school bus, dropping her off at camp and sleepovers during Elementary School years, shooting up a prayer when she went out with friends in middle school and high school. Big prayers and letting go during college years, stepping up the prayers when she lived in Boston. All were mere primers for this letting go—out of the nest and into her own, real world. Prayers, prayers, prayers.

My wonderful advocate, Ella, assures me that it can be difficult—especially with the first one leaving, but that our relationship will become richer and richer. I reason that we are merely  increasing our borders. Our addresses, Sean’s and mine, and Erin and Justin’s (and Chris’s college) intersect like some sort of cosmic, heart-shaped Venn Diagram. The beautiful, intersecting part is where we will remain connected—even as our lives are changing, expanding, even though we are in different states and have different zip codes. In this sacred space, we’ll continue to learn and grow and share the new chapters of our lives. It is in this precious place that we will experience that richness, those incredibly special visits, everyday and celebratory phone calls, texts, and Skypes! New chapters!

Cheers, Erin and Justin! Cheers, Sean and Chris!

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