As many times as my oldest daughter asked my ex to take me with them so she could be with both of her parents to travel to university, he refused. She contacted me the day before she had to move into residence and told me she asked one last time but her dad said, “No!” I assured her not to worry that I would still be there. She told me that my ex booked a reservation on the 8:00 a.m. ferry so I told her that I would be on the same one.
I arrived at the ferries at 7:15 a.m. lining up with the other vehicles waiting to board. I went into the terminal to get something to eat for breakfast. When I came out and was walking back to my car, my younger daughter called my name. She was in the front passenger seat of a vehicle I didn’t recognize. It was a white pick-up truck. Both girls told me later that their dad had purchased a new vehicle.
I walked over and said “hi” to my girls. My younger daughter was so happy she spotted me. She beamed that she could see my hair in the window so she knew I was there. I confirmed with my older daughter the name of her residence house. There are 8 houses and they have some difficult First Nation names and spellings. I told them I would meet them at the university. Then I went back to my vehicle and waited to load.
On the ferry, I sat in a row of seats by a window. With it being the start of a long weekend it was very busy but I actually had a row of seats to myself. I was reading for about 30 minutes when my kids found me and sat down beside me. They had gone for breakfast first. Their dad sat down with them. We each conversed with our children but didn’t say a word to each other. It made no difference to me at all that he was there.
We returned to our cars after the 1 hour and 35 minute ferry ride and then I drove by myself for the next hour to travel to the university. I ran into them as I was walking to my daughter’s residence and they were returning to my ex’s truck. They had unloaded everything and now needed to move his vehicle to the parkade where my car was already parked. My daughter asked her dad if he would just let me walk back with them and drive with them so we could all stay together. He said that there was no room. My daughter tried to explain to me where to go and I told her not to worry about it, that I would find it, and just meet them back at her room.
I met some great people on the way to her dorm. I chatted with parents and students about where they were from, why they chose this university, which residence would be their new home, etc. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and there were tons of students dressed in bright blue shirts that were guides and question answerers to make everyone’s transition smooth. I bought my daughter a plant and then headed to her house with the personal guidance of one of the blue shirt students.
My daughter’s roommate hadn’t arrived yet. We all helped our freshman unpack and set up her room. When we were done her dad left to go back home. My younger daughter and I stayed and we all went for lunch in the residence dining hall. There was a great selection of food. Then we went back to her room and met her new roommate and mom from Winnipeg. They were so nice. They had never been to Victoria before so I invited her to come back with my daughter for Thanksgiving. They invited us to their cabin in Minnesota.
My younger daughter and I said our goodbyes and left to do some back-to-school shopping in Vancouver. Then we went to my sister’s house for dinner. Two of my nieces and their live-in boyfriends joined us. It was a whirlwind visit as the last ferry departed at 9:00 p.m. and we had at least a 40-minute drive to get there. It was so wonderful to see them. It had been almost 2 years since our last visit. We would have stayed over if I didn’t have pets to get back to and my other niece and brother-in-law were planning on visiting us the next day to go to the fair. We made it to the ferry with enough time to run into the terminal to buy an ice cream cone before being called to our vehicles to get ready to load.
My university daughter texted me just before we boarded the ferry. She thanked me for coming even though her dad tried to make it difficult for me to be there and for the “survival kit” that I left her. She had a very fun ‘Welcome BBQ’ for her house and said that she had met a ton of friends already from all over the world. She was off to play board games.
I am so excited for this new chapter in her life. I feel like we managed, for the most part, to make the day all about her.