Joy When They Come Home And Relief When They Leave

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Susan Dromey Heeter's daughter, Maria.


In honor of my oldest returning to college after her holiday break, I muse joyfully on the adage, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

I celebrate the sweet in the notion that the sink may not be filled with so many dishes, my bank account may rise, laundry piles will not be so grand, I’ll get the remote to the tv back.  I mourn the sorrow in that she’s gone back to the west coast, so far away, so remote, on a completely different time zone with no batting down the hatches for the nor’easter we are due this evening.

Susan Dromey Heeter

I muse joyfully on celebrating the airport, the adventures of travel, of college, of possibilities.  We had a lovely month but there is something to be said about “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  As I talk with sisters, with friends in the same position, we all bask in the love for our daughters, our sons, our families – but we bask equally in the joy we have when they leave, when they return to coin operated laundry systems, dining halls, roommates who are not related.

And, of course, the same is true on the younger ends as well. Children are delighted to leave, to get back to their own spaces where no one reminds them to “Wake me up when you get in” or “Put some gas in the car, would you?”  They, ideally, celebrate their friends, their freedom, their independence.

But today, I delight. The house is quiet, the sink, for the moment, empty.  And today I muse joyfully on the time I have to prepare for the nor’easter, the memories I have of a January full house, the laughter of my baby girls.  May you, too, muse joyfully the comings and goings of your own families and, ideally, a very small pile of laundry.

Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Spaulding High School in Rochester and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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