In a couple of weeks, I will be leaving my son at a college 2,000 miles away from home. Today it hit me really hard that he is leaving. I’ve decided to tell him that I’ve changed my mind. He can’t go. I just can’t let him.
I should be better at this. He is my third child to go away to college, and the older two were also a plane ride away. I shed many tears when first my daughter, then my older son waved goodbye and turned toward their new lives and their looming adulthood. Tonight at dinner, I was sharing a story about the day I left for college as a freshman. My mother stood at our doorstep and cried, “Mary, you’ve never been away from me for more than a night.” I had never considered what it might cost her to have me go away.
From the day my third child was born, he has been such a source of joy. He had (and still has) these fabulous eyebrows that point upward like arrows and make him seem surprised – or devilish. He has consistently made me laugh throughout his childhood. The day I forgot to pick him up from preschool, he informed his teachers, “My mom’s an idiot.” And once in kindergarten, he declared, “My dad is going to have a stroke!” I guess I love that he helps me not take things (including myself) too seriously.
He is also a person of integrity. If he says he will do something, he does it. No complaints, no rationalizations. Just action. In early adolescence, he began to realize how lucky he was to be born into this family and to live in the safe, comfortable environment of our small suburb. He has remained humble and very real throughout his high school career as a football player and popular guy.
Mind you, the boy is not perfect. I have made the acquaintance of the high school dean on his behalf more than once. And he can absolutely drive me crazy at times with his opinionated ways. But I can’t imagine what life is going to be like without seeing him on a daily basis and listening to his inventive lingo: words like “dank,” “dirt,” and “flame.”
I know I have to let him start the next chapter of his life. I know I will get used to the new (much quieter) world order at home. I still have a high schooler to dote on and fret over. But still, I will miss him more than words can say. He may have have a rip in that college t-shirt of his before I am able finally to let go.