When I woke up on the first morning after delivering you to college it was quiet. Really quiet. Just as I thought, nobody was in your bed. I knew you weren't at a sleepover. Or on a school trip. This was for real.
Bittersweet as it was, I was relieved to be home after a week of getting you settled in and worrying that you'd be okay. ActualIy, Daddy and I wanted you to be more than just okay.
I made myself a cup of coffee, went in the yard and made peace with the morning sun.
I checked my email. Still quiet.
Usually, when I come home from being away I notice the clutter. So I tidied up that table with way too many framed pictures atop, threw out a few piles of magazines, and purged my bedroom closet.
I didn't have to ask if you borrowed my black cashmere sweater because I remembered I finally just gave it to you to take with.
Being at the supermarket was weird--no Honey Nut Cheerios, string cheese or apple juice on my list. I wasn't in a rush to get home and prepare dinner so that we could dine in the one hour window in which you'd be available to dine with us.
Upon returning from the market there were none of the usual telltale signs that you were in the house living your teenage life. I especially noticed the absence of that one sticky Cheerio I'm used to finding on the counter every day after your breakfast...the one I always removed on your behalf. After all, you did your own laundry...got great grades. What's a little sticky Cheerio in the scheme of things?
I returned some phone calls and scheduled a couple of sessions. Time to get back in the saddle.
Another cup of coffee.
Daddy and I had a leisurely non-vegetarian dinner and of course talked about you the whole time.
And then, before I went to bed, I went into your room. I stood there for a while in a 'how did this happen' moment, pondering the beautiful artwork on your wall. Of course I had seen it all before but I had never lingered. I had given you privacy. But now I lingered. I put my face in your pillow to see if your scent was still there. I peered into your half empty closet. Opened a desk drawer.
You'd think by me telling you all this that I am sad. I'm not. Of course, I cried on the plane home. I looked to daddy and the flight attendants for comfort. I wondered: had I been a good mommy? Had I done my job? Daddy assured me I had. (So did the flight attendants.) You had told us before we left that our job wasn't done yet. So I guess that's a good sign.
I'm actually so excited for you. You were pretty nervous when we arrived at your new home away from home but by the time we left you were ready for the letting go. And a few days later you were texting about classes and soccer games and new friends. Obviously engaged. What more can a parent hope for? Well, this:
I hope I have shown you that life is sweeter when you wake up everyday with a song in your heart--whether it's literally a song or the equivalent. I hope that you put yourself out there even though the Universe says no sometimes, or you don't get the job, or the guy, or make the team. It's intention and energy that matter. You'll see.
Go forth my little freshman. And don't worry about Daddy and I. Luckily, we still have songs in our hearts. Of course our most important song is you and if you are happy, thriving and texting to tell, we can move forward and sing those new songs.
During the next four years may your young soul be filled with songs that will last a lifetime.
Can't wait for Thanksgiving.
Ok..it's a little cheesy, but the chorus gets me every time!