We did all the usual stuff, moved the bed, ran back to the store to buy cleaning supplies and a garbage can. I gave her a hard time for not bringing a picture of me or Sandor.
Then it was time to leave her there on campus, surrounded by smiling frat boys who offered to carry heavy stuff and cute girls who were very helpful and friendly. While we were hugging for a really long time the tears started. Mine and Sandor’s, not Lexies.
I’ve done this three times and all three of my kids have earned full scholarships to college so yes, I’m really proud of them.
But the reality is once they leave for college they are gone. They come back for weekends and summers but they are gone.
A million years ago a wrote a novel, Invisible Branches. I described waiting for the school bus to bring Mary and Jack home, and when it did and I heard them laughing and running up the driveway I felt like my heart was home. Now it’s in a dorm room an hour away.
Lexo the cowgirl who wore red cowboy boots for nearly two years is gone.
One of the things gnawing at me, is the thought that I haven’t taught her enough or she wasn’t really listening when I warned her about the dangers of drunken frat parties, the dangers of a real city. All my kids are ridiculously confident and strong. Sometimes caution is a good thing.
She’s good at handling her money, actually cheap, but what if…
She loves to work out and eats pretty well, but what if…
I’m worried she won’t get enough sleep, she’ll meet charming handsome bad guys, she won’t ask for help when she needs it, she’ll forget to lock her car doors when she’d driving at night and will pay too much for college text books.
I’m worried she won’t she won’t be home to hug Sandor after a bad day at school and he won’t have her to snuggle with and watch Adventure Time and I Carley. I’m worried she won’t be here to make her dad laugh, and she’s one of the very few who can do that. And I’m worried she won’t be her to hold my hand when we sit on the couch, to make fun of me when I try to talk like a cool kid. I’m worried because she won’t be here to side kick me in public and to say things like, “hurry home, I’ve got so much to tell you.” She won’t be here to make us all dance in the kitchen.
Obviously, Lex will be just fine. She listened when I lectured. She knows what she’s in for.
But coming home from work will never be quite the same for me.