Prelude to an Empty Nest

December 26, 2020 was a LONG day! It all began at 2:00am when my daughter and her boyfriend, my son (11), and I jumped into a minivan to head to Tampa. My first born (22) is truly ready to enter adulthood by moving to Tampa with her boyfriend. Exciting!

We jumped on 295 South, Sean (bf) entered their address into my GPS, and it said it would take 12 hours 51 minutes😳but I had been mentally preparing myself for this drive for weeks. The challenge was to complete it ON👏🏽MY👏🏽OWN👏🏽!

Driving in the dark, while everyone else was KNOCKED out was daunting. However, I was prepared with various playlists that I’ve created on Spotify over the years! Jay-Z, Rihanna, Jhene, Big Sean, Drake, and Cardi were just a few of the artists that accompanied me along that drive.

For some strange reason it seemed like the sun didn’t want to rise Saturday morning! During the work week it seems like it’s up and ready to start the day at 5-6 o’clock but not on December 26th. Not when I needed it to come out! I was getting extremely tired and found it VERY necessary to pull over and sleep for at least an hour. Sean offered to drive but I turned him down. This was possibly my last road trip with my baby and I trust ME with my children. So, I slept for about an hour or at least til the sun came up, drank some more coconut RedBull, and got back on the road! It was important to make good time, as the rental needed to be returned by 8pm.

Thankfully we didn’t run into any major traffic and we didn’t have any mechanical difficulties! God is GOOD! We made it to Tampa around 4:30pm with at least 5-6 stops along the way! Not bad at all and I completed the drive SOLO! I knew I could do it.

As I drove through Tarese’s new neighborhood, I began to get teary-eyed. It was hard to believe that my baby was not gonna return home with us after this short vacay was over. I was trying my best to hide my tears as we got closer to their house. I had to use my sleeve to wipe my tears so nobody would notice that I was crying.

We finally got to their house, I backed into the driveway, and tried to maintain my composure. I did pretty well until all of her belongings were out of the van and in the house. I didn’t want to linger around cuz I had another two hour drive to Gainesville to see my cousin. I grabbed my baby, started crying, let her know that I love her very much, and told her I was proud of her! I was excited about her moving out but I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be to leave her. We’ve been together for 22 years and now she’s on her own. I can’t wait to see and hear about all of her successes!

Nope…this story isn’t over yet! Desi and I jumped back into the minivan and headed to Tampa International to return the van and get a smaller vehicle for our three day stay in Gainesville. My mind was so wrapped up in missing my baby that I forgot to fill up the tank. Y’all know that car rental companies charge an arm and a leg if they have to fill up the tank. Luckily, the attendant quoted the price for them to fill up the vehicle 😱$46 and then told me that I could take the vehicle back out to fill up. That’s just what I did cuz what do I look like paying $46 for a half tank of gas? Of course, what was supposed to take 10 minutes turned into 30 because I’m not familiar with the area and my GPS loves to update slowly. So yeah, I missed several important turns to get to the gas station that was quoted to be 5 minutes away! Anyway, I filled up the tank and headed back to the airport. Of course, checking back in couldn’t be simple! There were three cars that pulled in ahead of me😩. Those of you that KNOW me know that…”I have no patience and I HATE waiting!” (Jay-Z ~ Big Pimpin’) But I had no choice! Once the attendant finished checking my vehicle BACK in, I asked for directions to the next car rental company.

Maaaannnn, we got to the 4th floor where the car rental companies are located. There were people upon people upon people getting off of the train to get a rental. I panicked cuz as I said before…I have no patience! I began to speed walk through all the people that refused to social distance! We finally found the rental company I used and ran smack dab into another line! At first, I was cool until I noticed there was only ONE agent and five people ahead of me. I quickly had to change my mindset and prepare for the wait, as this was beyond my control! I didn’t even keep track of the wait time because it would have triggered my impatience!

It was FINALLY my turn! I had my license and credit card in hand, gave it right to the agent, but he looked straight in my eyes and said he couldn’t find my name in the system. I couldn’t believe my ears and began to look for the reservation on my phone but before I could pull it up, he found my reservation! I immediately whispered a prayer of thanks. Then he tells me they only have minivans left but could switch me to their sister company for a smaller vehicle. I agreed cuz who wants to fill up a minivan again? NOT I! *HUGE SIGH* The agent then asked me to follow him to a different counter so I could rent the vehicle from their sister company. **SMH…One agent with at least ten customers between two separate counters trying to keep all of his customers happy 🤦🏽‍♀️ Praise God for helping me maintain my mindset because looking back I’m surprised I didn’t freak out!

Everything worked out, I got the papers for the new vehicle, and we headed to get the keys. We ended up with a janky Nissan Versa but whatever…we have our means of transportation for the next couple of days. Now to get BACK on the road to head to Gainesville. I’m so ready to get in any bed but first food so we aren’t famished on the way. At approximately 8:20pm we got on the road for our 2 hour ride to Gainesville. We arrived at our hotel at 10:01pm, checked into the hotel without a hitch! December 26th was the longest day EVER! And I’d do it again in a heartbeat because…ANYTHING for MY CHILDREN! When they need me I will always be there!

I’m getting teary-eyed as I think about going back home without my baby. I know she will come back to visit but it’s going to be different. It is going to take a lot of getting used to and I know I’m going to get sad for weeks if not months knowing that she no longer lives with us. We are all going to miss her! The only thing that gives me comfort is knowing that she is with a young man that I trust. He’s ALWAYS been a great young man! Anyway, I’m on my way to being an empty nester! Kinda exciting and scary at the same time! I’m nervicited (nervous + excited…yes I created my own compound word) but I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for Tarese. God’s got her!

Desi and I ~ Dec. 27th after getting some much needed rest.

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