I just packed up my eighteen year old son, my first born, my buddy, and I drove him into northern Ohio, through Amish country, where I moved he and his prized possessions into an antiquated, non-air conditioned space, half the square footage of what he has lived in for the last eighteen years!
I left him with cleaning supplies (which I'm sure will sit untouched), enough snacks to get him through what I had hoped would be a few weeks, but probably 24 hours, and a laminated key card hanging around his neck that will open every door to his future, paying for things along the way. God help us all if he loses that card.
I tried to anticipate his every need and I spewed nonstop advice, my tried and true tips on how to handle his accumulation of laundry, etc., (only to learn that the Cross Country Team has a dedicated drop-off laundry service). (What the?!!! I could have been at the pool that summer I spent teaching him how to use a washer, dryer and iron)!!!
I fretted and fussed. I reminded and reassured. I hugged and was hugged back and then I left after being politely dismissed (he had a team meeting, the clock was ticking). I drove back through Amish country, arrived home, explained to the dogs that he will no longer be their breakfast provider, they'd have to kiss up to his brother. (Dumbstruck they stared longingly toward his seat at the dining room table.)
Ah yes, the dining room table, always set for four, now awkwardly set for three, reminiscent of the cartoon depicting the King dining at one end of a LONG table, with a candelabra, as his only companion.
I was good. I didn't call or text. I didn't watch the clock wondering what he was doing (I knew it didn't involve cracking open the cleaning supplies). I waited with faith and sure enough my phone buzzed. A text stating he was back in his room after a team dinner, met his R.A and he's nice, already finding friends and that all was well! I played it cool, texting back a raised thumb and a blushing emoji., (okay not blushing... kissing).
It has been several days and I have not shed a tear yet! Where's the waaaa? Sure I am stumbling over "triggers" like his messy bathroom and a forgotten pair of shoes, but no leakage... my floodgates are secure and my well seems to be dry... am I a bad mother for not crying? How long should I wait for the other shoe to drop? I know he is in a good place, a safe place and an encouraging environment academically and athletically. I know he will thrive like the sweaty plants in his terrarium that we so carefully transported. I also have already learned that whatever I may have forgotten to teach him in preparing for his flight from the nest, he will eventually figure it out and be fine. I have also learned that the more you let go, they seemingly get closer (like that stray cat you ignore that ends up meowing and rubbing against your shin).
I can say this with certainty as my phone buzzed again and I got an "I love you and thanks for everything", alongside a kissing emoji and a raised thumb! Oh yeah...kissing, not just blushing!!!
Now I'm off to reassure the dogs and to introduce his brother to the laundry room! Good luck to all my fellow moms as their babies fly from the nest! No worries, they will spread their wings, then undoubtedly send a note through a homing pigeon, asking for money!