On Thursday, Eric and I made the 10-hour round trip trek to bring Abby home from college. It was a fun day, actually, aside from all the driving and trying to cram my ridiculously long body into a cramped space. We got to meet Abby’s friends, have lunch in the cafeteria (ah, college food is so terrible) and walk around campus in between moving all of her stuff and cleaning her room.
A couple things that made me laugh:
On the way down, Eric and I made a quick stop at a little fruit stand that’s a big tourist draw. Eric found a couple of jars of yummies — pickles and salsa — and was having a grand ol’ time sampling all of the various items they offer. I don’t find much joy in a place like this because I can’t eat anything and just stand around waiting for everyone else to get done. It’s something to be endured rather than enjoyed.
Anyway, we head to the cash register, and the kid behind the counter puts everything into a paper bag, then moves to put that bag into a plastic bag. We don’t need another bag, Eric says quickly, and then shoots me a grin.
Good boy. He is clearly trained.
On the way back, with Abby in tow, we stopped at a grocery store for snacks because I just didn’t have a fast food stop in me. We placed our items on the conveyor belt, and the lady immediately begins putting everything into a plastic bag. That’s okay, we’ll just carry it out, Abby says. Later, in the truck, she says, My friends were wondering why I have an aversion to plastic bags, and I told them about our zero waste year, and they were like, ‘That’s such an Oregon thing to do.’
I suppose it IS a very Oregon thing to do — we’ve got plastic bag bans in some of our cities, everyone recycles (even if it’s all going to the landfill at the moment, boo), and it’s not uncommon to see water bottle refilling stations in public areas. Not everyone here is environmentally-minded, of course. I used to work with a kid who refused to recycle anything because she felt it was too hard, and we’ve got our share of climate change deniers. (Don’t get me started.)
But it’s nice to live in a state where people are generally environmentally-conscience. Where refusing plastic bags and worrying about your carbon footprint are pretty ordinary daily actions.
P.S. Abby said she also tried to explain the wonder that is castile soap and how I make our cleaning products, and that really confused her friends. Most people probably do equate chemical smells with cleanliness … but that also made me laugh.
It’s so great having my girl back home, you guys. She is tired from finals and feeling a little melancholy as she starts a new summer chapter, so my goal is to get her rested up and well-fed. Friday night, we had a houseful of kids, which was fun — I’d kind of forgotten how loud teenage girls can be when they’re having a good time. It sounds like I’m complaining, but it truly made me smile. They were so happy!
I’ve learned this year that I CAN cope with having my sheep scattered. That my sheep come back. That I can enjoy and appreciate the moments I have with everyone home, and it’s okay when they’re not.
Life isn’t static. And that’s for the best.
Johanna is super happy to have Abby back, incidentally. People love to ask her if she enjoys being an only child, and she always frowns and shakes her head no. Because my kids are five and a half years apart, they have a different kind of sibling relationship. We don’t have the fighting and screaming — it’s more like Abby is a cool aunt. Abby takes great care of Jo, and Jo takes great care of Abby. (She’s the one who helped Abby unpack when we got home, patiently following all of Abby’s instructions. I left after about a half-hour.)
So all is well in the Walker household at the moment is what I’m saying. I’m sure we’ll have some bumps — Abby is used to having a lot of freedom, and although she has a very long leash because she’s Abby, there are some house rules — but whatever. My baby is home! I can walk into her room right now and give her a hug! What’s a few potential growing pains, really?