They say you spend 18 years preparing your child for the day he or she will leave the nest. That’s all very well and good. But who is supposed to prepare YOU for the day your child leaves the nest?
We dropped my son off at college yesterday and he settled right in like he’d always been there. Me? I cried the whole way home in the car, the whole night, and then again when I woke up in the morning. It was the sight of his perfectly made bed and clean room this morning that did me in. His room was never that clean when he was actually living in it. I thought about going in there and throwing some shoes and socks on the floor and piling up a couple of dirty ice cream bowls on the nightstand just to try to fool myself that he was still around. But then I realized the dog would eat the socks and then throw up and I’d rather be sad that my son is at college then mad because I have to clean up dog puke, so I decided to leave the room alone.
Then I thought about texting him to see how it was going. But I figured there is probably nothing uncooler than being at college and trying to make new friends when you suddenly get a text from your mom asking how it was going and if you made any friends yet.
I also could have Instagrammed him a kissy face or Facebooked him a message, but ultimately I decided not to contact him at all. Back when I was in college, my parents had to call my dorm room to reach me, and since we didn’t even have an answering machine, if they didn’t catch me in the room, they were out of luck. These days, there are no less than a half dozen ways for me to connect with my son while he’s at school (not including the hidden camera I stuck to his alarm clock. Just kidding. Maybe.) But as a parent, the tricky part of social media is actually knowing when NOT to use it. Much as I’d love to hear his voice or get a message from him, I recognize that in these first few days of independence, he needs time to test his wings, without me looming in the background questioning his choices.
Still, I felt like I needed to do something. I needed to be useful somehow. I needed to feel like he still needed me.
So I went out and bought him new boxers.
Because nothing says I love you and I miss you like clean underwear…
Except, maybe, clean socks.
Which I bought him, too.
©2013, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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