Julie doesn't maintain two residences anymore, and that is just a sad fact. I noticed it first last summer when Ben started living out here while I stayed in Ohio to sell the house. I had thought (hoped) that Julie would be living in Kent with me more so that I wouldn't be all alone, but that was not the case. Admittedly, she started having more serious car trouble about that time, and on the one trip she made, the drive back to Maryland was tense and scary for her. So the bedroom that Ben built corner shelves for and that Julie and I painted bright yellow her freshman year of college was mostly unoccupied until the day we moved.
We do have an "extra bedroom" here, and it basically holds most of the furniture that was in Julie's room at the old house, which is kind of surprising because it is a very small room. We do have a smaller bed in there and I think that makes the difference. Unfortunately, although Julie prefers the compact size of this bedroom, she hates the bed and finds herself unable to sleep in it, to the point that she has recommended that we replace it. I am surprised by this, as I have slept in that bed myself on many occasions. It is the bed that used to be tucked up under the roof in our attic bedroom at the old house. I actually loved sleeping in it when we had a houseful of people downstairs.
I think about all this now in particular as Julie and Andrew are in Ohio right now - but we are not. I remember how excited I used to be when I received the phone call from Julie telling me they had just crossed into Ohio on the turnpike. When I received a text to that effect yesterday, it just meant they were further away. I remember how excited Ben and the dogs and I were when Julie's car pulled up the driveway and she unloaded all her suitcases and bags (and sometimes plants) for a good long stay. I loved the late nights watching tv and knitting, and I loved the lazy breakfasts where we planned our days' outings. I loved having Julie's help in the kitchen as we prepared dinner, and I loved how she and Ben cleaned up afterwards so I didn't have to. I just loved having her in the house, I guess.
To be fair, I think we had a good long run of chicks in the nest, if you will, and I am glad my adult children have "flown away" to productive lives of their own. But that doesn't change the fact that I miss Julie and Tom every day and wonder what they are doing and hope they are safe and happy. It's very like the "words of wisdom" my father-in-law shared with me when Tom was a newborn still in the hospital. "Now you'll worry about him for the rest of your life," he told me in his ponderous, I-am-imparting-great-wisdom-to-you way. That seemed more like a curse than a blessing to me, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. Fly away, my little chickadees. Spread your wings and soar to heights we never dreamed of. Baby birds were never meant to stay in the nest.