I vividly remember the day my son started first grade. He wore a blue and white striped shirt and khaki shorts. His backpack was blue, and practically bigger than he was. He woke up before I did, fed himself breakfast, got himself dressed and ready and was sitting on the couch with his backpack on when I got up. He was excited in that way that kids get sometimes: fidgety, talking very fast, and unable to stop looking at the clock. As the time approached for the bus to arrive, we gave all the hugs, and took all the pictures. But when that school bus pulled up in front of our house, he hesitated before taking the (GINORMOUS) step up into the bus, turned around, and with tears in his eyes, said, "But it's ALL DAY." Then the bus pulled away with my little boy in tears on it.. It was so momentous for both of us because it really was the longest period of time he had been away from me: a whole day.
Twelve years later, here we are with just one week left until he leaves for Purdue. Parts of the story are the same: the counting down, the anxiety, the anticipation. But the eagerness to get ready is not. In fact, we just started shopping yesterday for his college stuff... with seven days left. It was overwhelming in all the ways. This time when we pull away from Purdue, it will be me tearfully saying, "But it's FOUR YEARS."
I'm not worried about how he will do, or his grades, or making friends. I'm not worried about how he will balance his workload and still have a social life. I'm not worried about him becoming a partier, or anything like that. I'm not even worried about his big decisions regarding his major and career path. He's completely capable.
I worry about menial things. Like, will he remember to grab an umbrella on a rainy day? Will he be warm enough? Will he remember to put laundry detergent in the washer? Will he wear anything besides pajamas? Will he eat enough? Is there something I forgot to teach him? What if he loses his phone?
I know I'm not the only mom to feel this way. Watching our babies fly the nest isn't easy. So now, I'll be the annoying mom who hugs him every chance I get. The one who makes all his favorite meals when he's home. The one who reminds him to bring me all his laundry when he comes home. The one who texts him (but not obnoxiously) to remind him that he always has a safe place to land at home.