my house feels empty.
we have vacant bedrooms and naked walls, but that isn’t the culprit. after staying with us for four weeks, i checked my little sister into helaman halls at byu on monday.
being back on campus in freshman dorms with her was almost too much. i reacted to every change of the landscape, buildings remodeled while others remained untouched. i pointed out all of my places willing her to realize what this place meant to me. but like every visit back, i avoided exploring the new broadcasting building. it all just felt too heavy.
helping her get settled and unpacked i remembered back to my EFY experience – 1993’s sharing the light – when i slept in the same dorms before she was even born. that was my first exposure to byu thanks to a very generous friend and her family. i was so excited for her to fall in love with this place as i had. i was nervous about her making friends since she was on her own with a complete stranger roommate. i forced myself to leave and we said good-bye on the stairs. i reassured her apprehension while hiding my sadness.
it was a longing to change the past. it was a feeling of regret. regret for missed opportunities. regret for working so hard i missed the fun. regret over relationships i should have foregone. essentially i wanted to have a do-over. i later told christian i would do everything over again if i for sure got him. but, i don’t think that’s how do-overs work.
that same day i returned home without rachel and everything feels a little bit emptier. she isn’t disappearing upstairs to watch that’s so raven when she thinks our choice of show is lame. she isn’t asking me to interpret text messages. she isn’t laughing her guts out with me anymore. she isn’t sitting in my passenger seat singing at the top of her lungs while i get to drive in the carpool lane.
but she is loving this week as much as i did 18 years ago. and for that there is no looking back, only forward to a bright future.