(Originally posted January 3, 2017)
My daughter Michelle moved today. It’s not the first time she’s moved away. She lived in San Diego for seven years. Then things happened. The economy turned. She needed a place to stay until she could get back on her feet. It was only supposed to be for a short time. That was three and a half years ago. Last time it didn’t hurt so much. This time it hurts. A lot.
She’s moving to Portland (Oregon), 865 miles away, which right now seems like a million. I’m overly emotional, so things are not in perspective. I know it will get better, but right now my heart is breaking.
Michelle’s wanted to be an artist for as long as I remember. Drawing horses when she was five, she had a gift. Painting, drawing, always an eye for perspective and color combinations. She also has a big heart and went out of her way to do something extra to make someone’s day. Giving so much of herself, she put aside a lot of her dreams to be there for others.
A year or so ago, she applied to art schools and was accepted at Portland State. We were thrilled, and this past summer she went up there and took a few classes, just to get a feel for the town. She loved it. When her classes ended, she came back and said it was only temporary. She wanted to go back.
Although my heart was heavy, I was excited for her. This is finally her time to grow and be who she wants to be. As much as she’s given to all of us, now it’s her time to live her dream – pursing an art degree in a city with lots of rain and clean air. (Sorry Bakersfield, I don’t blame her on that one.)
The last few days have been rough on both of us. Last night, we snuggled, and cried, and just let it all come out. A box of Kleenex, multiple pillows and shoulders didn’t escape the deluge of tears.
On our refrigerator we have a place for messages and grocery lists. Most of the time Michelle had some snarky message or anatomically correct drawing. If people were coming over, it was the first place I’d check to make sure it was ‘company-safe.’ After she left I noticed she left a message "Remember that I love you."
I’m going to miss her messages. And drawings. And times we watched our shows together. And hugs.
Today Bakersfield is drearier and probably will be for a while.
Portland you’re fortunate to have such a gifted, talented, amazing woman. Please be kind and nurture her creative spirit. A part of my heart will now be with you.
Remember I love you too, Michelle.