This past August many of the moms in town were getting their first born children ready to go away to college. The majority of my friends were weepy, sad, emotional, and some were even distraught. Facebook was filled with shared articles on dealing with the stress and emotional trauma of sending your child off to college. Pictures were posted and shared, the moms had tear streaked faces, forced smiles, and even some of the dads looked horrified to be leaving their children at college. My husband and I were also sending off our firstborn to college. My son was leaving at the end of August, and even though he would be less than an hour away from home, he was going away. Unlike the other moms I knew, I was thrilled. I was like the parent in the Staples back to school television commercials, skipping down the aisles to the tune of “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”.
No, I do not love my son any less than any other parent. I might even love him more. He is the perfect combination of the three best men I know, his dad, and both his grandfathers. So why couldn’t I wait for him to go? He was ready. We were ready. It was time. This is what we had been working for since I enrolled him at Montessori pre-school 16 years before. Let’s face it, the college application process is brutal. When you have a procrastinator, in the midst of his final varsity soccer season with a broken nose and a torn knee ligament, it is brutal times ten. Add into this two AP classes and a booming social life. It now makes the college application process with you son an absolute nightmare. Once the applications are in, the high school senior “lazies” set in. They think they are ‘done’. Mentally they have shut down, and more often than not, you arrive home to find your child slumped on the couch watching some ridiculous MTV show, with half your snack supply spread around him. Sometimes even asleep with the remote raised half in the air. It is exhausting being a high school senior, isn’t it? By the end of the school year, I was afraid he was cemented in that position and I would not be able to get him up and out to graduation rehearsal.
Fast forward to August. My son the procrastinator had no interest in shopping or preparing for college dorm life. My friends with daughters going away to college had the opposite. They were having fun! They had lists with categories & highlighted sections, and many pre planning phone calls with roommates. There were dorm room themes to decorate with, matching comforters, colors chosen, and patterns too. My son’s participation level was this, “Mom, get me blue”. I was so anxious to get him to college, I didn’t mind doing all the shopping ,and I wasn’t going to let him forget one thing. I think he was the most prepared on his dorm floor when we moved him in. His food supply could have fed them all in a power outage, and he had enough socks and underwear to last 60 days god forbid he couldn’t figure out the laundry. He sprawled on his bed on move in day, while my husband and I organized and unpacked, and set him all up. Before we knew it we were done, and it was time to turn him over to independency. Still, I was happy. His dad was happy. He was happy.
We had our final discussions over budgeting his spending money, and the emergency only credit card, and it was time to go. Still no tears. We hugged goodbye, and he walked away. We watched my 6’2, 200-lb giant saunter into his new life. But to me? He was 3 years old, his yellow monogrammed LL Bean backpack on his back walking into Montessori pre-school. And yes, as we drove away, behind my Ray-bans, one single tear trickled down my face. I know he will do great things.