July 11th, 2020 was the last day our daughter lived at home with Yumiko and me. Emily has been with us a long time, since November 25th, 2000 when she was born at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California. She has lived with us in nine separate homes since that time: three in Japan and six in the USA. That is an average of just over two years in each home. I wonder if this pace of change will have set some precedent for her in terms of establishing an interest - for better or worse - in living many lives over the course of a single lifetime? Time should tell.
Our family spent the evening prior to the move helping Emily pack. In fact, it was Emily's boyfriend Chris who helped the most, the two of them going slowly through Emily's possessions, deciding what to keep and what to take. Chris even spent some time reviewing Emily's many photos to create a nice album for her to take to her new apartment in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. Emily had asked Yumiko for her favorite meal as her "last supper" before departing - a type of Japanese-style shrimp pasta - which they made together while I shared with Chris some old videos of our lives in Japan. The evening was more exciting than bittersweet, as Emily is quite eager and ready to go, and not too keen on holding onto the past or even the present, for that matter; this fact being perhaps evidence that her parent's wanderlust and ever eagerness for new life has indeed sunk in.
We moved Emily to her new home in two trips, between Irvine and Marina Del Rey. Her new situation is a shared space, similar to a college dormitory, where she will have a nice room of her own adjoining a common living space, kitchen and shared bathroom. The location is very convenient to many South Bay amenities, and just minutes from where Chris will be attending university beginning next month, so the two of them will be close. Chris is a good guy. And I am glad he will be nearby. Emily is also just a short distance from where Yumiko works, which will make weekday visits handy should Emily and Yumiko wish to catch up or Yumiko desire to drop off a care package. Finally, she is less than an hour from Irvine, so we can go see her or visa-versa on weekends or when she wants to see our dogs, Rudy, and Ollie.
During the second trip, Yumiko and I stopped by Target and Tokyo Central - our local Japanese supermarket - in order to pick up all kinds of starter essentials, including a rice cooker which Emily will need to make her new place a proper Japanese home. Good job, mama!
I'll confess that I worry a little - OK, a lot - if we've done our best preparing Emily for the challenges she will face living on her own. She is a good person at her core, and I think that should carry her through to the far side of the important stuff. Sure, I won't be there to do her dishes anymore, or to slay the immediate dragons of her life, though both Yumiko and I will always be close by in spirit, and memory, and of course by phone or chat should she need to talk.
Good luck, Emily!
My name is Kurt Bell.
You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.
Be safe... But not too safe.