I usually love August, with beach days and outdoor concerts in neighborhood parks. August is frosting on the cake of summer, begging for company and a glass of something on the back patio. But this year August was different. This year I counted down August days like an adrift shipwrecked victim counts down sea ration biscuits, dreading the day when there are none. This August I sent my son to college.
Despite a timely shopping excursion for extra long bed-sheets and new pillows, the packing still came down to a day-before launch event; T-minus 12 hours and counting. All that felt necessary of his life was packed in three large Ikea storage bags, a few bins and a backpack, stuffed in back of the van. I always thought a minivan was perfect for bringing him home from the hospital in his car seat after he was born. Turns out it's perfect for the packed up life, his bike and snowboard, and taking him off to college, too.
So here's the surprising thing. After hugs and some tears on the drop off day, I'm not sad. I haven't cooked a hot meal since he's been gone. It's been two weeks. I was waiting for the melancholy, the feeling of loss. It hasn't come. Am I premature in writing this, or will it creep upon me when I don't expect it? I am concerned, of course, for his adjustment; the relationship with his room mate, his ability to get up on time, do laundry at least once in the semester, and negotiate the freedoms and risks of unsupervised college life without negative consequences which could be harmful, long-term, and potentially expensive. But it's OK. I waited 18 years for this, he is ready, and I'm going to go find something delicious to eat.