Somebody should help that kid with his timidity. Except that he is not a kid and is most definitely not timid. The day I left him at college, W finished setting up his half of his dorm room, got his ID card, checked out the cafeteria (two thumbs up), and then tracked down his first year advisor AND his new boss. He pelted them both with questions and then wandered around campus talking to people (Can you tell I’m trying not to smile that fake-modest-overly-proud-smile that is so unbecoming in a parent? He does this stuff and I just keep wondering where on earth he gets it. Not from me. Not from his dad. But I believe it will serve him well, and that relieves my worries a bit. He’s no fledgling; he already knows how to fly.).

I, on the other hand, drove away from campus praying and crying and pleading with God to watch over him and with the campus as an entity to be good to/for him.

I had to get gas and something to eat before entering the interstate. A couple of blocks away from campus I spied a gas and convenience store. As I pumped the gas, I saw a big sign on the window: “Supermom salads sold here!”  Hell, I needed something stronger than a damn salad. I opted for a cheese brat. Mustard AND ketchup. Yeah.

Cried off and on for a lot of miles, partly in fear of all the horrible things that might happen to W. These I listed in detail in my head, sobbing harder at some items than at others. I also cried at the thought of how long it would take me to get to him from 1100 freaking miles away if he needed me, and how sad it would be for him to have to wait so long for me if he were sick or in pain. I cried at the idea that his poor burned blistered leg might become infected. I cried in memory of the crazy toddler he’d been, making up words like ‘ninnix-daddix’ and ‘yuxxie-dixxie’ and giggling madly as I repeatedly and monotonously dropped the F-bomb that time a mouse darted out from under my pillow and ran across the room with W and me standing right there. I shed a few tears for the shaggy-haired little boy who, on our homeschool Mind Feast days would stagger home from the library under the weight of all the history books and animal books and books on diseases that he planned to read that day. And the boy who shuddered, after accidentally brushing against a bush after a rainfall, “Eww – nature!” but who would happily spend hours running around outside with other kids, playing tag or capture the flag or some made-up Harry Potter game, or playing by himself with single-minded focus as he matched dandelion stems against clover stems in the death match battle of the ages. It had taken me weeks to figure out what the tiny brown flecks were on all his little shirts (dandelion juice – the dried brown blood of the defeated) and to make him start wearing dark t-shirts – rather than forego the game entirely – whenever he went outside after that. Oh shit, I’m going to cry again. Nope. No, I won’t.

So, driving down the interstate barreling away from my child at 70 mph, I realized that I could adjust all the car air vents to point at me now, if I wanted, and that set me off again. This is how it went for the first hundred miles or so until I got distracted by a torrential downpour. I am proud to say that only once, briefly during the downpour, did I cry at the idea of me dying in a wreck and leaving my poor orphaned boy stranded at a strange college in a strange city in a strange state far from our own.

So, here I am. My first full day back at home, lots of work to do, hungry and thirsty but unable to decide with what groceries my half-full nest fridge should be stocked. I keep thinking W is in the other room, reading on his bed, about to come down the hall to tell me something from the news, out in the yard struggling and cursing at our antiquated and quite possibly broken rotary blade lawn mower…

I’m not sure where or how to start, but I think I need lunch.

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