“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”—Anais Nin
Perspective. It alters everything.
I have this sad, heavy heart feeling as my daughter returns to college for the remainder of her spring semester. As I clean up the house, I can’t help but smile, thinking of how I will miss seeing her coat hanging over the dining room chair (no use for a closet!) and her belongings strewn across the couch. I like the tidiness of the house when she is at school, but miss the vibrancy that she brings. She has come a long way in the last few months….correction: WE have come a long way in the last few months.
The summer before college was a difficult one. She was 18 and ready for independence and adventure. And I was ready for her to have those things…somewhere else! We both spent the summer in waiting….and I didn’t realize how stressful it was, until she was safely tucked away at school and I could begin to sleep soundly through the night again.
I vividly remember her first visit back home. She was eager to be at home and sleep in her own bed; a shift from her pre-college days of being allergic to home. When she first entered the house, she threw herself on the couch, and sighed. “This couch is soooo comfortable….and the TV…is so…tvish.” Suddenly, my cooking had improved and even taking a shower was “amazing”. The best though, was when she came down the next morning and genuinely shared “I think the carpet in my room…..has gotten ….SOFTER!” Of course, nothing but her perspective had actually changed.
While things aren’t perfect, I think the distance and concurrent new experiences have allowed us both to see each other differently. I genuinely enjoy her company and look forward to our time together. I can more clearly recognize her strengths, including her wonderful sense of humor, compassion, and love for life. And, as the country song says “how can I miss you if you won’t leave?”, I have learned to appreciate the perspective shift that her giant steps towards independence bring to us both.
The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
– Henry David Thoreau