I’ve been MIA the last week or so. It’s been a busy time for our household.
Last week, Greta, Angela, Michael, and I traveled to Notre Dame to move the girls out of their dorms. It was a surreal experience.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, move-out was a very different process. Each girl had a 4-hour window to move her things out. We were allowed a maximum of 3 people in the dorm. The process was smooth and went off without a hitch. The dorms supplied boxes, Ziplocs, Goodwill and food pantry donation bags, as well as bins and dollies for each room. It couldn’t have been an easier experience, especially since we were the only people in the section.
But walking into the girls’ rooms was the strangest thing. It was as if time stood still. Honestly, it was kind of scary and I was glad not to be alone in those big, empty dorms that are normally teeming with life. As we opened the door, I found myself holding my breath. I felt like I was intruding into a sacred space, that place where my kids get to be adults when away from home.
The girls left for Spring Break and never returned. But their rooms were untouched. At one point the University did unplug all electronics and empty refrigerators. But other than that, things were left undisturbed.
There were dirty clothes in the hampers, Keurig pods in the machines, notebooks opened to upcoming class assignments. It was especially bittersweet for Angela who didn’t get to finish her freshman year on campus.
Notre Dame’s campus is breathtaking at this time of year. But I have never seen it so deserted. Greta and I walked between the girls’ dorms, a solid 15 minute walk. We saw 2 people. It was like a movie where something strange had happened and we were there in the aftermath.
We had the opportunity to attend daily Mass. None of us had been in a church since March 13. As I sat there in the beautiful Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the familiar words washed over me and soothed my weary heart. It was an unexpected gift. I have no idea when we may get the opportunity again.
The MVP award of the trip goes to Michael. That kid schlepped futons, lamps, refrigerators, suitcases, etc., down stairs and all the way to a storage unit. Back and forth. Over and over again. If you don’t have a teenage boy at your beck and call, you have my sympathies. I highly recommend the 17-year old model. I can always lend mine. He is an incredibly hard worker and strong as a horse. All he asked for was a haircut and a Chipotle burrito. He got both.
As a bonus, we had a delightful visit with my sister’s family. We stayed up late visiting and catching up. Staying in her home brought some normalcy to all of us. After the big move-out, we enjoyed a long dinner before driving back. The kind where you linger around the table and tell stories from years ago. We laughed so hard, tears were streaming down faces. I’ve got some stories from Angela’s Kindergarten year that will double you over with laughter. None of them are appropriate for this blog.
Then we returned home. With piles and piles of laundry. Towels, bath robes, bedding. But there was something soothing about washing it all and folding it into neat piles, vacuum-sealed and ready for the fall. If all goes well, the girls will return sometime prior to August 10. With a newfound appreciation for dorm living, I imagine.
In other news, Rocky finally got her braces yesterday. This was delayed several months due to the pandemic and she has been anxiously awaiting the big moment. The night before, she and Mary Frances made caramel apples. Caramel is a strictly forbidden food with braces. So she enjoyed one last treat.
I may have eaten one as well. Don’t tell my dentist.