Oh, there are tears going on today. Not the loud weeping and gnashing of teeth kind of tears, but the big ol’ crocodile tears that flow slowly down your cheeks and just keep flowing and flowing. (Where does all of that “tear liquid” come from, and why don’t you ever run out? I want to know.) College Boy went back to college this weekend, and we had to leave him and drive back home today. I just hate that. I thought it would be better this year (his sophomore year) but it’s just not.
Last year, I could truly claim that it was all about HIM … and hardly at all about me. I was hoping that God had led him to the right college (because, you know, God might’ve made a mistake, you never know.) I was hoping that he and his room-mates would click. (There were three in their room. THREE!) I was hoping that he’d adjust to sharing a room with two other guys after having his own bedroom for 18 years. I was hoping that he’d make good friends. I was hoping that he’d feel like he fit in. I was hoping that he’d have good teachers. I was hoping that he’d find a part-time job that he enjoyed. I was hoping that he’d keep in touch with us. I was hoping that he’d be happy. And I was hoping that I’d find a way to survive for 55 days until I could see him again. (Well of course I counted the days. Absolutely.) All of that was going through my head, all summer long, leading up to taking him to college. It made me kind of sentimental and weepy, all summer long. (But I kept it to myself. A little teary sniffle here and there, in the bathroom or when I went to bed. Nothing in front of anyone. Nothing to make anyone think that I was going around the bend or anything. I had the lid on it.)
The week that we were going to leave last year, I pulled out of the driveway to go to the grocery store, and saw the cute little neighbor boy riding his Little Tikes car down the sidewalk. Well, that about did me in. Surely it was just a couple of years ago that Danny was doing that very same thing? (Ok, well maybe not. He has been 6’4″ for several years and that doesn’t go inside a Little Tikes car. So maybe it has been just a bit longer than that.) By the time I got to the grocery store, I was thinking that I had better not see anyone that I knew. If I could whip through the aisles and bite the inside of my cheek, I might make it home before the tears came again. As I was checking out, I heard a “Well Sheri! Hi!” It was sweet Ruth Ann from church. She said, “How are your kids doing? They are getting so old!” I said (overly-brightly), “Well, Danny is actually leaving for college the day after tomorrow!” In her kindest and most sympathetic voice (because she has been through that), she said, “And how are YOU doing with that?” I burst into tears. Right there in the checkout aisle at the grocery store. Jeez. She said, “Oh my!” The checker said, “Oh my!” and I tried to get out of there as soon as possible. A melt-down in the grocery store, of all places. I still try to avoid Ruth Ann at church, as she now thinks that I must be emotionally unbalanced. Jeez.
Back to this year – I did great all summer long. No worries about Danny and college. I already knew that he loved it up there and that he felt like he belonged there. I knew that he had made great friends and that he had chosen to room with two great guys – Phillip and Nathan – this year. (Yes, three in a room again. By choice. Go figure.) I knew that he had a terrific job, that he had chosen good classes, that he would have great teachers, that he would be good about keeping in touch with us (hey Danny – call me!), and that he was exactly where he was supposed to be. There were no worries about him this year. (No teary outbursts in the grocery store either, although I’m still avoiding sweet Ruth Ann.) No, this time when I had to give him that last big hug and tell him good-bye, it was ALL about me. Sure, he’ll be happy. But I’m wondering what I’m going to do without him around here. I already know how empty his bedroom feels while he is gone. I know that it’s sad at the kitchen table with his seat empty. I know that when I hear a car in the driveway, it’s not going to be him. I know that when something glitches on the website, I can’t go racing into the other room to have him solve it immediately. (He’s College Boy, but he’s also Web Guy.) Yes, he will be so missed here at home. Thus, these crocodile tears at the end of a long, weary day. sigh.
But – good news! Danny’s room-mate Phillip’s mom is a knitter! (Hi Jari!) And she cries, too, and she knits socks, and she misses her boy! A new friend in the middle of “It’s all about me and how sorry I feel for myself” day. That is a bonus gift. So, I’ll survive this day, and I’ll survive this school year, and all will be well. After all, there are only 59 days until Fall Break.