Saturday, September 1, 2012
It's been 24 days since we moved our son into his college dorm. I was and am very excited for him, but I was unprepared for my own grieving process. I started mourning a few days before we left. I couldn't stop thinking about a little blond toddler who rode toy fire trucks and fell asleep in my lap. He wouldn't fit in anyone's lap now, but I'd give anything to go back in time when he was three or four. I loved walking with him, holding his little hand.
The day came to load up two cars to make the trip to his campus. My main goal for the day was to stay composed enough not to embarrass him in front of his new friends. The university has a tradition of holding a special worship service of dedication for the freshmen and their families. Parents form a giant circle, the kids (all 550 of them!) are all put in the middle, and we pray over them. I dreaded this moment for months. When it came, I looked around at the other mothers dabbing their eyes and sniffling quietly. I wondered how they could hold it together. Everything in me wanted to sob in that uncontrollable, gasping for air, ugly crying that matched how I was feeling inside. I managed to preserve my dignity and not embarrass my boy.
My solace came in the fact that I spent the last 18 years preparing for this day. My grief would be very different and much worse if he didn't want to leave home, if he clung to us, or if he had no desire to pursue his God-given potential. So I pray for him. I putter around in his bedroom trying to clean around his accumulated clutter. I make menu plans in my head for his first dinner back at home. I wait for his phone calls and marvel in the immediacy of Skype. I look on Pinterest for "how to mail cookies." It's really going to be OK. He's two and half hours away. Not too bad. I can do this. Still hurts though...