There are certain milestones in life that are simply not meant to be missed, at least not for me. Being a stay-at-home mother with occasional work over the years that kept my brain active, I was a hands-on parent who has been proud to witness and actively participate in my daughter’s activities year in and year out. The first day of kindergarten in India was traumatic for her, but she knew that at the end of the ordeal Mommy would be there for her, waiting at the gate to embrace the trauma away. For every new school she attended since, I was there to see her off and welcome her home, even on the very last day of High School.

Her trials and triumphs have been very much a part of my life as it has been thus far of hers. It is not the first time that we moved together and began life alone in a new city where language was a challenge for both of us. Florence, however, has an added twist of setting up her own home as an independent adult and university student. Finding a suitable apartment in this quaint city was just the beginning of the adventure, but setting it up with the bare necessities until her cargo arrives from Thailand it another thing. It’s a good thing that the winter sales are on here, which helps us both with the expenses, Italy isn’t exactly the cheapest place in the world to but your household items, even if they are the low-end brands that will never make it to the world market.

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Grafitti wings found on the external wall of a church. ©MTHerzog

So while I am still here, I help out in whatever capacity. For as long as we were still on holiday mode, I indulged in cooking for her, something I missed doing the past half year, but recently it was all about teaching her how to cook her comfort foods with the local ingredients. It’s one thing to teach her how to cook in general, but then the lessons have to be tailored to whatever is available in the local market or supermarket on her student budget. An interesting experience for me as well.

When she moved out last week and into her own place, our status changed from roommates to neighbors, which again provided an entire new level of dynamics in our relationship, eerily similar to what I recently experienced with my own parents last year. It was something far too close to home and am still very raw and vulnerable about. That sense of closeness and availability for each other is very comforting, at the same time knowing that you can retreat to your own space at the end of the day and close your eyes safe with the knowledge that tomorrow morning you can tumble down the stairs and hug them again.

Once all the items were moved over, which has been torture on my damaged knee, meeting up for breakfast, lunch or dinner and followed a walking adventure that entails errands of some sort, has been a great treat. Yesterday was her first day of class at the university and I certainly wasn’t about to miss out on this monumental event. In German tradition, there is a large ceremony called Einschulung on their first day of school in Grade One, right of passage that officially welcomes the children into into their first step of formal education. For this event, traditionally each child receives a paper cone filled with sweets. Other parents, like me, preferred to fill it with more practical items instead of candy. I thought it would be nice to have this cone again for the first step into higher education, again filled with practical items and just one piece of candy.

True to form and our relationship, we walked together to school and I hugged her as she marched off into a brave new world.

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