Well, it's back to the same ole same ole at the Shaw household. The week I went back to school after the holidays John and I welcomed a friend of Erin's as a house guest for a few days. TJ was with us for five days and I have to say I really enjoyed his visit. It is nice to know that there are people out there who are still raising gentlemen. I had living proof visiting my home. The weather wasn't actually conducive for sightseeing so Erin had to entertain him here. It was kind of funny to him, I think, to watch us sitting around shivering. He's from a part of the country where there isn't a run on the IGA every time there is a hard freeze warning! On the Monday after he arrived we actually had a "snow" day. Even though snow wasn't predicted as far south as we are, conditions were still a bit cagey. On Tuesday I convinced Erin to take him and head off to the beach. Although the weather outside was gray and relatively miserable, all reports were that they had a good time. His visit ended when Erin left with him to take him to the airport for his flight home. Afterwards she headed back to Tuscaloosa for her second semester.
I went back to work on Tuesday believing my life would return to its normal routine, or at least what passes for normal now that Erin isn't home. Somehow when I got home that afternoon it wasn't like what I thought it would be. John and I were sitting together watching TV but something just wasn't right. I finally was able to put my finger on it. My house was eerily quiet. No footsteps upstairs. No laughter as she Skyped with a friend. No quick step down the stairs or an "I won't be late!" as she heads out the door. No one told me I would have to go through this again when she went back to school. I thought once I had become accustomed to her absence I would be okay. I am okay, really. It's just that after several weeks having Erin at home I had let myself fall back into "Mom Mode." I really like that mode. It's almost like running on automatic.
Spending time with Erin over the holidays was wonderful. She's happier than I have seen her in a long, long time. She walked as if a world of worry had been lifted off her shoulders. She has made it through her first semester living away from home and came through with flying colors. I couldn't be more proud of her. I think that all our lives will be in a constant state of transition over the next few years. New people will come and go out of Erin's life and each will bring something new. From this newest addition I believe she has come to have a better sense of her self worth. She is being treated with respect; as if she matters. He listens when she talks and laughs at the same things she finds funny. He can barely keep his eyes off her and she hangs on his every word. He treats her the way John and I have always told her she deserves to be treated. Now she sees the difference. I don't know how this relationship of hers will develop, but I believe that regardless of the end result this is good for her. She hasn't lost sight of her own dreams but I believe she is beginning to wonder how those dreams may develop. She's beginning to believe she can have it all. I believe she can, too.