The blender’s whizzing, her sunglasses sit on the counter, orange scarf slung across a kitchen chair. My baby’s home. But not for long.

She flies back to Boston on Sunday. Her trip ‘home’ was short this time – since we spent two weeks of it in Mexico. So I got her company, but not that comforting feeling of a daughter in the house. The calls of “mom!” ringing through the air – reassuring me that I am needed.

Last January when we dropped her at the airport, the melancholy was minimal as I anticipated my own exciting journey – in just a few days I’d be flying to Hawaii and then off to Bali. This time no such anticipation will temper the sadness. In fact it will be exponentially greater with the knowledge that we won’t spend a summer together this year.

No, my baby is growing up. It’s time for internships and jobs further afield. It’s time for her to explore and embrace the possibilities that big, bad world has to offer.

It’s time for Mom to wipe away a few tears.

Oh, she still needs me. Advice, editing papers and scholarship application essays, filling out financial aid forms, and of course money.

But at 3,000 miles away I am no longer privy to her daily decisions and ups and downs (well maybe a little thanks to the modern miracle of text messaging.)

We sat at the kitchen table yesterday reviewing her possibilities for summer employment and career development. She still values my opinion enough to ask me about these things. A priceless gift indeed! But her summer plans will keep her on the East Coast, or best case scenario in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Which means no more daily good mornings, shared bike rides and trips to the gym. This summer won’t include lunch salads shared on the deck on sunny days, or negotiating about who will use the car. It’s just Tim and I rattling around in this empty nest.