Last night I almost bought a one way ticket for my oldest son to fly across the continent. Only reason I didn’t was that my computer froze, and I’ll really do it tonight. I go over the steps in my mind to prepare for his launch into college studies–assembling essential belongings such as passport, clothing for east coast weather, a few special things from home to set up in his room, his laptop. I wonder what he’ll want to bring besides. Driving him to the airport, saying good bye in that low key, heartfelt way we have, and walking back to the car feeling both bereft at that gut maternal level, and happy for him. Happy he’s found a good quality small college with the program he wants and affordable costs, happy that he’s eager to continue studying after a few months of summer–he told me he really thinks he’ll enjoy it. Happy he’ll be near my family, especially now that my parents are nearing their eighties. Happy that he looks forward to immersing in a Canadian environment, but will also meet folks from all over. Happy that he seems pretty put together and should be able to make wise choices in the midst of the inevitable segment of the student population who won’t.
Then we drive home. Will I be flooded with memories, want to write to him right away? What will be the shifts that will take place in our family with my second child, a daughter, now being the eldest, holder of (by the) the other driver’s license and attending local community college for her final year? And how will it be for my youngest son, who so enjoyed spending time with his brother, roomed with him for years? Will he become better friends with his nearest sister? Will they reach out to one another more in his absence, have a new sense of the impermanence of all things?
I guess I’ll pack away the rest of his things, not having the luxury of keeping his bedroom the same for his return–it’s only part of a garage, and shared. Suddenly my youngest will have a space of his own–the one who has been shunted from one corner to another, without shelves, toy storage, a real closet, or much in the way of expecting any of those things. Now he’ll be able to set up a table for Legos, have a mattress off the floor. I’ll paint his room, fix it up sweet.
How will we be at keeping in touch? Will we video conference, email, talk on the phone? Will he find it easy to be away from home, or will he be home sick at times? Is it a good idea to make that memory book of our family life, home town, friends and homeschool days, or will that make it harder?
My sister-in-law once exclaimed that it was too bad that just when her kids were becoming such nice people, they had to leave. We’ve had our rough times, but it seems that’s true–this young man is becoming such a pleasure to talk to, and more helpful around the house, kinder to his siblings. My daughter told me that her good friend, who has also known my son since they were small–her brother is a good friend of my son’s–that she was amazed at how much nicer my son was. Said he hardly talked to her before, or showed any interest in being friendly, was now really nice. She used to be intimidated by him. Funny how that is.
And so, I process, a little at a time. It’s a time to return to a discipline of prayer as I let go, we all let go and send this young man off to new tasks, relationships, hopes, and plans.