When the day came, and Lily was off to collage, Liz found herself tearing up whenever anybody so much as mentioned words such as: college, pack, growing up. She tried to act as if it didn’t bother her that her oldest child was becoming an adult and going off to collage. Liz didn’t want to let go of her little baby. She still remembered holding Lily in her arms as clearly as if it was yesterday. She missed those days. If it wasn’t for Elsa, Liz would probably have stuck like glue to Lily these last couple of weeks she had with her.
Liz wanted Lily to remember these last weeks as the best weeks of her life. She tried to help Lily pack, she cooked Lily her favourite meals, she tried not to start any arguments with her. She even threw a small party as a goodbye present for Lily. If she didn’t like it, she didn’t show it and Liz appreciated that.
So nobody was surprised when they found Liz snivelling when Daniel had come to pick Lily up. They had decided that Daniel was going to take Lily to collage ever since their car had broken down.
Liz held Elsa on her hip while she looked at the few suitcases that were standing on the pavement by the mailbox. Liz began to chew her lip. That was all that she was taking with her?
“Take care of yourself,” Vince said to Lily when she had hugged him goodbye, “and don’t get too carried away with partying. You have studies to do as well, you know.”
Lily and Vince both laughed. Liz hardly listened . Fresh tears were forming behind her eyelids.
“Naah, the only reason I’m going to college is because of the parties.” Lily joked and nudged Vince in the side. It was good to see them getting along so well, which made Liz cry even more.
Next Lily said goodbye to Elsa. She took her sister from Liz’s arms and tickled her under the chin.
“Bye, squirt,” Lily said and Elsa giggled.
Lastly, Lily came to Liz.
Vince had taken Elsa and gone to help load the suitcases into Daniel’s car.
“So…” Lily said, swinging backwards and forwards on the balls of her feet slightly. “I guess this is goodbye…”
“So it is.” Liz said, drying her eyes on her sleeve.
They looked at each other for a couple of seconds, then Lily threw her arms around Liz’s neck. Liz was rather taken aback at first but hugged her back.
“Goodbye, Mum,” Lily whispered (and Liz thought she heard her sniff), “I’m going to miss you.”
“I’m going to miss you too, honey.”
They stood hugging each other for a while, both crying silently, till Daniel finally had to say, “Sorry to spoil the moment, girls, but we really have to be off now if we’re not going to be late.”
Liz nodded and let Lily go. Lily’s bright blue eyes sparkled behind her black hair. Liz followed Lily to the car and watched her get in. She wanted to hold onto her for just a little longer…
“Don’t forget to call me when you get there!” she said when Lily had rolled down the car window. “And don’t get into too much trouble…!”
Lily rolled her eyes and smiled. “I won’t, Mum.”
Daniel got into the car and started the engine. Liz suddenly felt a huge wave of anxiety wash over her. What if something terrible happened on the way? What if they didn’t get there? What if Lily had left something really important at home that she couldn’t live without? She was sure there was something that hadn’t been on the packing list…
“Have you packed everything? Have you got your money with you? You haven’t left anything at home, have you? What about your toothbrush?”
She was following the car as it snailed up the pavement.
“Then I’ll get a new one.” Lily said, then she stuck her head out of the window and called, “Goodbye, Mum!” as the car started picking up speed.
“What about your winter clothes? It can get cold in the winter!” Liz called.
“Bye!” Whether Lily couldn’t hear from the distance or had chosen to ignore her, Liz didn’t know. But she guessed it was the latter.
“Where is Lily going?” Elsa asked as Vince came up (carrying Elsa) beside her.
“She’s going to collage.”
“Because…” Liz gulped to hold back the tears. “Because she’s all grown up, honey.”
Vince put his hand on her shoulder and said in a soft, comforting voice, “Come on, lets get you inside.”
And in that moment, as Liz looked up into his big brown eyes, she knew that he had forgiven her for her stupidity before.
The past was finally behind them and now there was only the long road ahead of them. A very long road, Liz thought.>> Next Chapter