Saturday, September 26, 2009

The way we did it

The long awaited day had finally arrived. After weeks (well, years actually) of preparing, the final teary goodbyes were said, she took one last look at her now almost empty room, the contents which were stuffed in several hefty trash bags and piled high in a rented minivan. We were off.

College bound.

Our destination, Portland, Oregan was 992 miles away. We passed through California's drought dry valleys and high desert...

Agriculture and farmlands...

...gas, soda, tea and wee stops...

...we passed through Mountains and rivers, the further away from home we went the more anxiety and melancholy turned into excitement and anticipation!...

...this child in purple is the one we will be depositing at the University for higher learning, she's ready as you can see.... :)

At the Oregon border she began counting the miles to Portland...

HOURS later, we are here. In Portland there are many bridges, this one leads to the downtown, at least we think so.

Looking to the left the pretty Willamette River...

Yes! we are right, thanks to my sister Lindy, she's the worlds best driver and navigator. Here's our off ramp...

Seeing the dorm.

We are here!
Wait, where is the rain?

It was gorgeous out. Sunny and warm. Balmy even.

Move in time wasn't until the following morning so after checking in our hotel we took ourselves out to explore her new school and the city. On this corner is Powell's Books. Described as the City of Books, it's the largest independent bookstore in the world It is a must see if your ever in Portland. There is also a website (award winning) you can visit at

After attending orientation in August, Hannah knew a bit of her way around, and was a good tour guide for us, here is part of her new school. I like to imagine her here, filling her head with heaps of knowledge, who wouldn't be inspired to study in this environment?

We discovered the many forms of public transportation in Portland, trying them out for size. This tram thing was fun, the city felt and looked a little like Amsterdam, with trams and trolleys and bikes and pedestrians.
It's very cool.

I knit Hannah a new hat on the drive up, she wore it on the tram and all around town. I think she is so cute. :)

Coffee shops help keep students awake...

We walked and walked, wandered and window shopped and when we were completely worn out ...

We headed back over the bridge to our hotel, tomorrow is move in day, we'll need our rest!

Saturday morning, oh hello rain.

We saw the rain after all, lots of it.

But we came prepared, our nifty trash bag suitcases did their jobs brilliantly. Here is the move-in cart. There were many families just like us. We were all in long queues waiting for keys, carts, elevators ...

There were posters and signs to direct us, I still got a little lost, I think you have to be a college student to figure these things out!...

Fast forward several trips in the elevator and stairs, and Ta~Da! Her new dorm! We met her roomie and roomie parents. We met her RA's. Then in an excited flurry of activity a new home was made. Hannah's pet fish Couch, (last name Potato), made the trip with no problem at all, he seems to really like his new perch in the window. Nice view heh? Oh, but we weren't finished yet, there were a few more necessities left to buy so back out we went...

Sheets and spatulas, can openers and cooking pots, I think there ought to be a college shower instead of a wedding one, by then most people already have everything they need, don't you think? I really like my idea :)
After leaving almost every last penny I had in Oregon's Target, we made the last trip up the elevator with the move in cart.

Then out we went again, to the Portland Saturday Market, there were crafters, food stands, musicians and people everywhere enjoying the day. The rain had stopped and the blue skies reappeared making me fall completely in love with this city. Again.

Portland is a beautiful blend of old.

And new.

We went back to our hotel without Hannah this time, she wanted to sleep in her new room. I knew this was going to happen.

The separation is sneaking up on me.

We planned to eat at a downtown Thai restaurant, our last dinner together for awhile. Hannah had a mandatory meeting for incoming students so she would join us after. She said "Don't eat without me!" "Of course Darling, we'll wait", we said. Then, the texts started, "it's taking a bit longer" "I've met friends!" "would you mind if I didn't come?".

The separation is here.

Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel, and met our Aunt, who's lived in Portland for forty years, for breakfast, made a last trip to town to the student bookstore, and then the inevitable, it was time to say goodbye.

Where though?

My sister Lindy was occupied with figuring out our route to the coast, Kim was checking her train and plane schedule that she was catching to the Midwest that day, and Hannah had plans to meet her friends.

Crossing over the bridge on our way out, we chose our parting place where the trains come and go, freeway on ramps are close,
and friends could meet....

If you've done this before you know how hard it is. Words don't convey the feelings. I love you Hannah. And I miss you so much already. And please don't be mad that i'm writing about you here on my blog. I won't do it anymore. I promise.

I kept whispering to her be safe, be happy, be mindful. study hard.

I love you.

So much.

...she walked away confident and happy. And she never looked back. That's how she helped me do it.

♥ Shaky, sniffly, tissue clutching, happysad, Lori

P.S. This is part one of our trip, part two is how my sister and I saw the Oregon Coast (part of it) and how I forced myself not to call and text (over and over) the newly fledged college child.


  1. Wow! It was really hard, brought back all kinds of memories. She'll love Portland. Enjoy the coastal trip.

  2. Hi Rosaria,
    I was hoping we would have been able to do the entire coast so we could meet, but we headed east at Reedsport to see the Elk and get back to the 5 quicker! One of these days my husband and I will be driving up the 101 and stop at Port Orford. Hopefully we'll see you then. And your right, for a small town beach girl she LOVES Portland and city life.

  3. Hi Lori ann

    What an exciting time and although as an empty nest mother I should have been empathising with you I felt more of Hannah's excitement - facing the start of her adult life...

    Do you have any left in the nest now?

    Happy days

  4. Sweetheart, that was so real to me here on the other side of the planet.You conveyed your feelings very well. Nothing I can say, except SMOOOOOOOCH,PAT,HUG.xxxxxxxx♥♥♥♥♥♥♥oooooo

  5. Wow, the pictures and the story matched up so beautifully that it made me tear up just a little and I'm not even a Mum! :) I hope your heart is resting up and finding comfort in knowing that she is becoming everything that you want her to be.


  6. Great Lori that you had family (sister) with you on this journey.
    I'm not a big fan of good bye... it never seems to get any easier.

    You're a great story teller and I look forward to the next instalment.

    x Ribbon :)

    PS. love the green hat... wish I could knit like that :)
    and I hope that you are feeling much better x

  7. I've been there too and you articulated the complex mix of emotions perfectly. You nailed it Lori, and it took me back. My last kidlet is just starting the process of looking at universities; she is in her last year of high school. Today as we strolled the university fair together, emotions crept up on me twice -- I could barely contain the tears - eyes brimmed and only a few leaked out. You did a good job with her if she was strong enough to forge confidently ahead and not look back.

    But I relate to your emotions Mom!

  8. Hi Delwyn,
    I do know what you mean, and we are SO excited for her. She is my baby and the last to leave so everything is more MORE with her. But it's a good thing.
    Thanks Natsy,
    Soon, it'll be you writing all this and me nodding my head. I'll send you tissues!
    Even though we had prepared for this,I cried. She's happy and knows what she wants and that makes me happy.
    Thanks ♥ Braja,
    some posts don't take any thinking, they just make themselves. This was one.
    I was SO happy my sister Lindy wanted to come along. She was a huge help in everyway.
    Would you like the pattern? let me know.
    That was me all last year. The last one is so hard. I wish you lots of luck and one word of advice: tissues. And enjoy every minute while she's still home.

  9. ah, lori, i've been waiting for this post.

    i did this too. i got back home, felt the echo in the empty space, and cried. love does that, doesn't it? but your hannah is going to have a total blast. and you know, i have a feeling you will too.

    i've never been to portland so i loved tagging along with you. you are a fine photographer. but what i like best about you is that i am thinking of you as my friend. :)

  10. ah lori i LOVE this beautifully and your beautiful BEAUTIFUL baby. yeah. it think she is SO cute too..especially in her green indie funk knitted cap. its looks SO SMART, her new college...god! sending lots love to you as always...and hope you're not feelin' too lonely and sad. she looks SO HAPPY and that's the main thing, eh? xxx j

  11. Ahhh *huggles* At least you've seen where she is and know she's safe- what a drive!

  12. I`m sitting here all in tears, can`t help it. Lori, this was a wonderful farewell/letting go of her - an unmatchable gift for your daughter. She knows how much you love her, and she also sees that you trust her to become the woman she is meant to be. She will always remember this trip, and yes, I also feel her joy and excitement.
    And you sadness.
    What a wonderful post to share with us. Thank you, Lori.
    I will write you tomorrow!

  13. I love this story. Reminded me of separating with my mom for the first time. She must have felt the same.

  14. A lovely bitter sweet post Lori.
    Your love shines out in your words for your girl.
    And it took me back to doing exactly the same thing with my son when he went to Cambridge a few years ago.

  15. I came here via KJ and I don't even have kids, and your story got me choked up. Sweet and sad, but never sour, lol. You have a lovely blog and I will return

  16. This is super exciting for Hannah, and I am thrilled for this chapter in her life.

    May all of her dreams and your dreams for her come true.

    You and the girls are beautiful.

    Love Renee xoxo

  17. What a great collection of pictures this was. It's such a watershed moment in your daughter's life. I remember how anxious and excited I was when I saw my dorm for the first time. She really is going to have a great experience and will learn so much.

  18. Oh Lori, what a beautiful post! And a beautiful daughter, beautiful mama and beautiful city. Well done of doing it so bravely.

    I really really want to visit the States again, having read and seen your travelogue. Have to bide my time and save my cents!

  19. Truly a bittersweet story ... full of emotion and honesty. I don't know about CA, but the hat you knitted for Hannah is the epitome of Oregon style! It was the first thing I noticed about folks in Bend ~ they all had these amazing knitted hats they wore year round!

  20. Lori, wow! These transitions are to intense.

    It's a credit to your parenting that she is so confident, so ready to let go when the time is right. I hope I can do as well!

  21. well done Lori - and good luck Hannah! what a great trip together and an exciting time. She will be home again soon. hugs x

  22. That instantly took me back to my first day at Gonzaga, and made me tear up a bit! Thanks so much for sharing the experience so well!

  23. My girls are only 9 and 10, and this post made me get teary already for when they leave me. I say I want to skip ahead to them being 25 when they might like me again, but now I want to treasure every day and slow it down! :'-)

  24. Oh Lori! What an amazing story of your trip. That separation is now over, and good that you left her confident and happy, and in such a great place! I'm glad you weren't driving back alone, thank goodness for Lindy! Much love and looking forward to Part 2!

  25. I read this post a couple of days ago and didn't have time to comment.
    I had tears in my eyes reading it - so many bittersweet memories of 'varsity (as we refer to it here in SA) and my parents and my leaving home for the great big blue yonder. Your post has made me miss my parents terribly.


  26. Oh dear, sniff, that's set me off!

  27. I'm happysad with you, Lori. I will be going through this same experience soon. I imagine it gets easier with the last one...but in truth, I know it's the hardest. May you celebrate your daughter's's both wonderful and terrible that we have to let go. <3

  28. Oh, Lori...your lovely Hannah looks SO excited and happy! That must be a huge comfort to you, right?

    OMG, that brought back so many memories for me as well...specially as Georgie went to Uni in the States, so it all looked quite familiar. But I don't think I was as brave as you because I bawled all the way back to my hotel! All those soppy tears, despite the fact that Georgie had been away at boarding school for 5 years before she went to Uni, so I should have been used to our goodbyes. But, no, it just never got any better than the first time!

    Sending huge flurries of love to you to help keep your heart warm. xxxx

  29. kj,
    Thank you, and you are right, there is crying going on, but I know everything is as it should be. Hannah isn't crying and that's what matters most! ☺
    ah thank you for the great comment. yes, Hannah is happy and that's all i care about. I'll get used to the empty house, sniff...sigh (i will!)
    I do know where she is, that makes me really happy, the rest is what worries me, it's a big city! She's a smart girl though, so she'll be ok.
    your wise words and love were with me all the way. Thank you dear friend.
    3 years housewife,
    I'm sure she did, someday you'll know it too.Part of mothering it's true.
    I've found that it doesn't get any eaiser, parenting is not for the faint of heart for sure! Your son was at Cambridge? wow! well done both of you!
    Hi Teri! thank you for the kind words, I really appreciate you coming by. I'm glad you enjoyed this post. I'm off to visit you now.
    thank you so much, that is what we want for our children, only that, for them to be happy and for their dreams to come true. I wish the same for you and your family.
    It's awesome to hear you had such good memories of your college life, it's the best thing a parent can hear.I hope the same for Hannah.
    thank you for the kind words, they make me smile. You will get here i'm sure, then i'll be your guide!
    yes, the hat it's here too, she fits right in, one of the many reasons why she chose Portland!

  30. Diana,
    the thing that surprised me was even when we know and prepare it still doesn't make it any easier! i'm sure you'll be fine, just like the rest of us Mama's. ☺
    or we may just have to go back up! thank you for the always kind words.
    Thank you dear, I really appreciate you telling me. And it's nice to meet you!
    Dear Frogs,
    They do like you,they never stop, even going through the phases, though it sometimes feels otherwise! Enjoy every minute of your precious girls.
    you know I love you too.
    Thanks Karen,
    I don't know how I wouldve done it without my sister. She is a godsend. You know how hard it is to let go. I am lucky Lindy and Hannah made it easier for me.xoxo
    Oh Janet,
    I'm sorry. It's a blessing to love so much though, your memories must be wonderful to feel this way.I'm sure your parents felt the same way. much love.
    everything does these days, sets me off! I'm praying for your circumstances to be just what you want, it'll happen!
    that's it exactly, happysad, excitingscary, wonderful and terrible. And for me, it's by far the hardest thing with this child, my baby. Everythings always had this feeling for me,she was the last of the most extraordinary experiance of my life, mothering these children. I didn't want it to end. But, now mine are all grown and gone. I'm glad they were ready before I was, or am. Things are as they should be, I suppose. Will your daughter be coming to the West Coast?
    Oh Tessa,
    I do know your right, how could we not want only the happiness for our children? i cried all right, just ask my sister! just not in front of Hannah (too much). And I do so appreciate the love flurries. My heart is indeed warm ♥

  31. You sweet thing. And your baby (yes, I said "baby") is adorable.

    I totally understand, hugs, although I can't imagine the ambilical cord cut. Her new place is beautiful, makes me nostalgic for university days and the biggest pressure being study groups :)

    Feel free to be a mom and call/text her whenever, yes, even at night. She'll appreciate it later, speaking from experience. I love her hat and the style/colour - wish I could knit.

    Still waiting for my letter ;) though I can see you've been very busy Lori! love, xx

  32. Clarity,
    oh its right here! I shall send it off this week, cross my heart.
    Thanks for the good advice, she actually did say that very thing. I know it's going to take some getting used to, but I also know we are blessed.
    I just left you a comment at your place. Amazing post!

  33. Lori ann, I'll be waiting. If you surf, this is the place to stop.

  34. Good-byes have never been a favourite pastime of mine. It was heart wrenching just to read this post. I am quite positive that the homecomings will be quite enjoyable though. Your picture journey was marvelous and very well layed out. I hope you recover from this and enjoy your daughters future successes.

    BTW, have you had any medical success since I have been around - I hope you have. Take care for now.

  35. Looking forward to it Rosaria!
    Hi Bogey,
    I'm glad to see you back, I hope your time away was restful (except when you were riding your bike!) thanks alot for the kind comment. We talk everyday, so it's sort of ok. And yes, I am feeling a bit better, infection seems to be gone! thanks for asking.

  36. Hi Lori, that was a great post, I really felt for you - and I'm not a mum either. I get teary leaving my dog at the vet for the day so I can only imagine how tough that must be!

  37. You make my city look beautiful. PSU is a terrific school in the heart of a friendly town. I am sure she will love the colors that are to come in the weeks ahead. Fall is a special time here.

  38. Monkey Man,
    I really apreciate those words, I am so glad to hear that! Portland is beautiful, I'm looking forward to seeing more of it. Thanks for stopping by.

  39. Oh, Lori... i don't know what to say except that,well...Portland looks like a lovely place!
    I am looking forward to part 2 of your trip.

    hope you have a great weekend!

  40. hello! i'm just stopping by to leave a quick how-are-you? i loved your email, and my story will be coming.


  41. What a BEAUTIFUL post. Wow Lori it is a work of art. I love that wistful little brown leaf you're holding at the end of the post, just as you have to say goodbye.

    Bravo to Hannah! She will do very well there. Portland State is a very good school in a GREAT location. I used to work at the Brasserie Montmartre, a restaurant just down the park blocks from the school. Portland is a wonderful place (except for the rain). She will do very very well.

    Sending love to you!

  42. Thanks so much Tusla, and I hope you do too!

  43. This is really moving, seeing it from the other perspective. I did the same thing to my parents, they helped me with the whole process, moving into my dorm, etc. But of course I was so excited to be there and meet new people, they had to take a back seat.

    Thanks for sharing so many cool details about the experience, the whole town looks so inviting!!

  44. What a beautiful, emotional post dear Lori.
    It´s a lovely way to share your trip, fantastic photos, your feelings , so many different feelings, isnt´it?

    Enjoy your weekend, take care...


  45. What a wonderful memory this moving story must make years down the road.

    Letting go so you may rejoice in her return.

  46. Frances,
    Hi, and thanks so much for coming by! I really appreciate your comment, and leaving pets too, it's all hard!
    busy! family has been visiting, thank you for looking in, i'll be over soon!
    thanks so much, wow, you've lived there too? Hannah likes the rain, lucky thing. I'm happy she chose PSU, it's a good fit for her.
    thank you dear, taking a back seat is what we are supposed to do at this point. You helped your parents with the adjustment, good for you! thank you for the comment.
    Thank you Mina,
    oh, it comes all too soon. I know you enjoy every day, with your precious little girl. Take care!
    Anil P,
    Yes, that is it. She will return and we'll go see her. Things are as they should be. Thank you for the kind comment.

  47. Wow! I've missed you my friend!

    Its so wonderful to travel with you, to see the world through your eyes...

    May peace always be the journey,

    My warmest love, M

  48. Dear Maithri,
    yes, that is the truth, peace being the journey. It's the best we can hope for. Thank you!

  49. You have a beautiful blog with wonderful experiences. Quite enjoyable :)

    Photos from Kas Plateau


xoxo lori