This is what I will not miss about having a child in college:
Stalking the college website for a photo
Worrying that the Megabus will crash
Winter breaks that stretch for six weeks
FAFSA (it bears repeating).
I am enjoying such frissons as graduation looms. But mostly I am noting what I will miss and wondering about the nature of time itself. Was it really just eight tuition payments ago that we loaded their bikes, books and backpacks into our cars then dropped them off on campus on a hot August day?
Perhaps you, like me, wiped away a tear when you left your child's dorm room, or drove home through sporadic sobbing. But we snapped to like soldiers, didn't we? After all, they still had one foot planted at home.
For weeks after, little things startled us. Lighter laundry baskets. Quieter dinner tables. We missed the everyday chitchats and when they phoned, we asked too many questions. But we continued to adjust like people do after a breakup, and by their sophomore year life settled into a new groove, where it would remain for two glorious, balanced years.
Now in mid-May, perhaps feeling out of sorts or retroactively guilty for parental lapses, we toss overnight bags into our cars. Soon, an instrument of some kind -- a bagpipe, a piano, a voice -- will sound its first note and our graduates will file in, backs straight under their robes, tassels hanging to the right of their mortarboards. We'll sit through commencement speakers who will say something life changing. He's so right! we'll realize, and then we'll promptly forget everything he said, for we're reflecting mournfully that today our child plants both feet in the real world.
We're also thinking, Please don't move back home.
We will awake from our trances when our child's name is announced. He will walk forward, take his diploma in hand, and perhaps turn to smile at us as he flips his tassel to the left.
This is what I will miss about having a child in college:
Sending care packages during finals
Receiving that random phone call between classes, just to say hi
Hearing the excitement in his voice over learning something new
Youthful energy in my house with some regularity
Winter breaks that stretch for six weeks (yes, I know it's in both categories)
Having a child who is still a student.