Reading about friends’ kids receiving college and university acceptance letters this week makes me think of my own journey with my eldest daughter, when she chose a university that was a 19-hour drive from home.
The day I drove her to her school and left her there still feels like yesterday:
Drop-off was from 9:30 to noon on the morning of August 31st for first-year students. It was great to be greeted by teams of 2nd-year kids, costumed and cheering and offering help with our gear. After a few hours of unpacking and getting partially-settled, Alex came to me and said, “Okay mom, students have to be at quad for an important meeting at 11:30, so you should go now.” I must have hesitated, because then she said, “I don’t want to be that kid whose mom stayed all day.”
So I said, “Alright, I suppose this is goodbye.” to which Alex gave me her cheek and excitedly skipped off, saying “See you at Thanksgiving!”
Stunned, I made my way downstairs and stumbled into the sunlight, happy kids and nervous parents still all milling about. I sat down on a set of stone steps framed with a wrought-iron railing and a sign that read ‘FOUNDED IN 1818’ and wept.
15 minutes later, I got a text:
Alex: “Where are you?”
Me: “Outside sitting on some steps.”
Alex: “I wanted to come say goodbye again.”
Me: “Okay come outside.”
Alex came out and said that she didn’t feel good about our other goodbye. I suppose she didn’t want the memory of it to remain awkward. She gave me a big hug that I didn’t want to let go of, but that made everything better (it really did).
Then she skipped off again, off to her new life.
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