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Mom's Time Out

College bound

Michele Brown

(9/2017) This is it and I am NOT readyÖ.my first child heads off to college this Friday. I believe this has completely snuck up on me. Until recently I have been doing very well, but that was then and this is now. I have actually been surprised and pleased at how well I have been handling this. Unfortunately I am far from doing well; I am all but a basket case and completely unprepared.

The summer started like any other (except for a graduation). The kids want to veg all summer long and my husband and I have to point out that there are things that need to get done even though summer is here. Our summer always starts out rather relaxed. We are usually planning the two birthday parties/ get togethers that didnít happen in May and then suddenly it is July and we are planning one more. This summer had the added stress of trying to get all of my college bound sons practice driving hours in so he can get his license before he goes off to college. Add to that two teenage boys with jobs and did I mention neither of them drive. The driving thing is a topic for another month though.

I guess maybe the reason I have done so well with this is because I have been too busy to think about it. Fast forward about a month and now it is August. The first couple weeks are alright because I am running kids to camps and we are having our staycation. Then it all comes crashing down around me. We are at a picnic with three other families (the four best friends who graduated together and are starting college at the same time). At the picnic two of the moms announce that their boys go back a week before mine. Suddenly I am struck by this overwhelming feeling of panic. Yes, I have gotten a few college supplies but I havenít actually put much thought into it. So I ask them what I need to be looking for and these four different lists come pouring towards me like the lava at Pompeii and I am literally buried alive.

That was a Saturday and on Monday my son makes reference to needing to put his laundry in when we get home. My husband then jokes, "Hey buddy, this might be the last time you do laundry at home". Cue the tears. Yes out of nowhere I start to cry. The week wasnít too bad. The most unusual and silly things would set me off and there would be the tears again. I was able to purchase a few more staples for his departure without a scene in the Target. I still had a ton left to get together, but I still had almost 2 weeks to go before he moved into his dorm.

Then suddenly we were down to less than a week and I was in a bit of a panic. In less than a week we needed to do a bit more shopping, finish up his practice hours for his driving test, do a bit a laundry, pack, and cry. I got on the laundry right away (and cried so I was at least multitasking). Every errand I had to run he drove so the driving hours would be done before his test. The shopping was probably the hardest. I would pick up the silliest thing, like bandaids for a little first aid kit, and start to tear up. I was constantly talking myself off the emotional ledge.

Without any warning the day came and it was time to take my baby to college (hard to believe but I am having a hard time typing this through all of the tears). The van was packed and we got up early and left for the exciting and sad drop off. When we arrived we checked him in without tears and headed to his room to unpack his things. I had a few moments of weakness but still no tears. Apparently as long as I had a task I could contain myself. I also kept reminding myself that this was a good thing and the way God intended, for him to be on his own. It didnít hurt that I didnít want to upset him or start his college experience off on a bad note. I knew I would cry but I was trying to maintain until it was time to say goodbye.

After we moved in we grabbed some lunch and luckily his college had a few activities planned for the families (which definitely took my mind off of the tears). Next was a lovely dinner to end the day (at least for the parents). After dinner it was time, time to say good bye, time to leave our baby boy at college, time to cry. As we left I tried to keep it together with no avail. I cried and hugged and cried and hugged. At this point I was so grateful for a friend of mine. When I asked her for suggestions of what supplies I needed to get for my son for college she suggested a box of tissues for the ride home. She couldnít have been more right. My husband and I actually shared the box, he only needed one and I used the rest.

Turns out as we kept driving I did get better. I was told I would survive and I did. I survived the tears, the heart ache, the excitement and the weird dreams about heading to college and forgetting to take my son. Does that mean that the tears were finishedÖ NO, of course not. I plan on crying periodically for the next couple of months (if I am lucky). What an amazing time for my boy, no matter how many tears I shed I am still super excited for him.

Read other articles by Michele Brown