if you leave…

Today’s the day we take our oldest to college. I am very much at peace, with a dash of needing to cry. I ran to the grocery this morning so we wouldn’t face a milk shortage in the house. Standing in the check-out line, I wondered how everyone was doing. I wondered what benchmark moments the other shoppers would be facing once they left the store.

Up until today, Covid-19 has really robbed me of any pre-move grief and woe I might be feeling for sending my child out to the world. I’m not worried about the decisions he’ll make or the adversity he will face without the context of Covid. My worries are mostly about his health, and avoiding an ever encroaching disease.

The thing is, I’ve raised my kid to the best of my ability. We’ve talked about everything. No subject has ever been off limits. He’s asked questions, seen it all on the internet. Now it’s time for him to put the words and philosophies to test. The other day we touched on some topics and he finished my sentences for me. He has been listening.

And really, what a better place to dip a toe into the waters of adulthood than college? He’ll be in an academic environment with a side of {limited} socialization. He doesn’t have to prepare meals or clean bathrooms yet. He doesn’t have to pay bills. He can experiment with making his own decisions, with limited risk. Perfect.

Leaving a piece of me an hour away from me will be a challenge. I won’t deny any tears or feelings that bubble up. I’ll certainly miss the stories he tells, his input at the dinner table conversations, and the music and noise he is constantly creating in his room. But I also trust him to live well while away.

I have no insecurity about him. Of course, there’s my concern about the rest of the world. Accidents happen, and of course there’s this stupid pandemic looming. But when I leave him tonight, excited to face his new adventure, I won’t fret. Angst will have to wait until I get a phone call that indicates it is time to worry. Because I have faith in him, and I have faith in me and the job I did with this guy.

Of course, I beam with pride, as every mother should. This was always the objective. We didn’t know where he’d choose to go, but we always knew he’d go. And knowing that we’ve achieved a huge, monumental, 18-years-in-the-making goal is something I’m truly in awe of. There were really long days that made today seem like it would never come. There were lost tempers, shed tears, broken hearts, bad decisions, and a whole lot of love. But we made it. We’re still whole.

Ladies and gentlemen, today I present to you my greatest life’s work.

I love words. Words swirl and dance around in my head. I have many deep thoughts. Some thoughts plague me. In order to release them, I have to assign the words. Once the words are strung together, I feel free again.

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