My 22-year-old daughter, Joy, is moving into an apartment on Friday. I am already suffering from DDD – Darling Daughter Deprivation!  Sniff….

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This is not the first time she has moved out: she has lived in a dorm or an apartment since starting college. But she spent a semester abroad in Spain last fall, and then moved home to take a break before starting her second senior year this year. So I have had the pleasure of having her at home the past six months. She is a brilliant girl.  She has a very prestigious scholarship, and she is triple-majoring in linguistics, anthropology and medieval history, with minors in Spanish, Gaelic, Latin, and music.  She wants to get her Ph.D. and be a professor.  She does Irish dancing, plays the piano and the celtic harp, and sings. She also does martial arts, and will be taking horse-back riding at school this year. She is also a major bookworm, and also a creative writer. You can see that she is an overachiever – but she has always been intellectually voracious.

It was obvious early on that she was brilliant. At age three she had an eight-grade vocabulary. By age 6 she was reading C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.  I taught her to read and home schooled her through second grade. I had to put her in school when Rob became too much to handle, and that was really a difficult decision.  She struggled with the transition, because she was so intellectually out of step with most of her peers. The school wanted to advance her, but I didn’t want that, because she was still emotionally a second-grader even though intellectually she was so far advanced. Although she had sympathetic and helpful teachers, and though I continued to help her with advanced schoolwork, it wasn’t until 7th grade that she met some like-minded girls and started to make real friends.  She had the advantage of going with them to a high school for gifted students. That was when she really began to blossom. Now that she is in college, she thanks me for not advancing her. She has friends who were advanced, and started college at age 16; those friends really struggled emotionally. So wisdom is vindicated by her children! 🙂

Her relationship with Rob has really improved since she went to college. They have always loved one another. Rob adored her when he was little, and loved to cuddle with her, and climb into bed with her; and she loved him too. But at the same time, she resented him, especially because he could be so disruptive and aggressive.  I have always tried to give her equal attention, but of course that was very difficult. Moving out gave her an opportunity to get some distance and perspective. The past six months have been a really good time for them. They stay up late, hanging out together. She actually wants to take him with her to movies and other events with her friends.  He takes her on a “date” – which means she drives him someplace he wants to go, and he will pay for her to have an ice-cream, and they will talk. She taught him to read fantasy, and they both enjoy talking about what they are reading. He will confide in her and listen to her advice more so than to me; which is normal, I think.  I am very pleased with how they have gotten along.

I will miss her. Rob will too. But she promises to come home for frequent weekend visits, and I will of course see her on campus during the week. Rob will be taking classes at a different college and working, so I don’t know how much they will see each other. But hopefully they will grow even closer as they start to relate as adults rather than as children.

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