By Tobi Schwartz-Cassell
January 1, 1997: Jardin Ellery Cassell is born! A new life begins! Yayyyy!!!!
August 5, 2020: Jardin Ellery Cassell leaves our home to start her own. A new life begins. yay.
Thankfully, Stan and I have a very loving, fun and solid relationship, but hey! Give us a break! It was yesterday. It’s still fresh.
When she moved a half-hour away for college, it was Yayyyy!!!! for her and for us! Now that was great!
Now, she’s on her way to Florida—a plane ride away—and no more fun drop-ins from her and her friends or holiday dinners with her.
Up until yesterday, when she was still living with us in our small apartment, she’d do something that annoyed us, but we’d look at each other, shrug and say, “Well, she’ll be leaving soon and it will all go back to normal.”
Well, she left yesterday, and all I can hear playing in my head is The Beatles’ singing, “She’s leaving home, bye byyyyyye….”
When our son Richard left for college in 2007, I could not even look into his bedroom when I’d pass by. It took me months. But Jardin was in middle school with homework, projects, sleepovers, trips to the mall and parties. College was far off for her, and that went a long way to helping us get through Richard’s departure.
Now, in our apartment, her empty bedroom will soon become our home office, so I won’t have much choice but to look into it because soon I’ll be occupying it.
For the past week, before she left, I would randomly say, “Hey, Jardin.” And she’d say, “Yeah?” And I’d say quietly and solemnly, “Don’t go.” And she’d smile and say, “I love you mom.”
I know she’s going to be fine. Better than fine. She’s smart, savvy, competent, professional and sweet. And she’s beautiful, even though you’re not supposed to say that to or about your daughter here in 2020.
As I was hugging her in our parking lot yesterday, (her friend Dafna waiting patiently in Jardin’s car), I told her all the reasons she was going to succeed, and reminded her to value herself because she is more than worthy—she is precious!
I told her to never allow ANYONE to take advantage of her, ESPECIALLY a romantic partner. If they are not worthy of her, she should ditch them pronto. As my mom often told me, “Find someone who loves you just a little bit more than you love them.” If heeded, that bit of advice can be life changing. So, over the years, I’ve drummed it into both of my kids’ heads.
And when the time finally came, and she and Dafna drove away, with Jardin’s pet rats Hades and Bragi in the back seat, drugged for the ride, Stan, Fred (our dog) and I wiped away our tears—okay—Fred had no tears—then we came back up to our now very quiet apartment.
I read somewhere that the two best things you can give your children are roots and wings.
Richard and Jardin, I hope we gave you both.
My motherly parting wisdom: Wear a mask wherever you go, and always know that our hearts burst with love for both of you, and that you both make us proud every day.
Have an amazingly successful, love-filled and fun-filled life, Jardin Ellery! Stay healthy! We love you!!! Yayyyy!!!!
PS: Has your last one left the nest? How are you doing?
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