A New Age version of "Rainbow Connection" (originally performed by Kermit the Frog!!!), comes from the speakers of the flatscreen in my bedroom and causes me to break down into a driveling mess. I am packing to take my daughter to college. I post about this moment on my Page and my wonderful Facebook friends chime in to say that when their kids left for school it was “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Cats in the Cradle,” “Mother and Child Reunion,” and “Forever Young" (Rod's version), that brought them to their knees.
Songs usher us through life. They are soundtracks and segues. The most fitting ones seem to locate us at pivotal moments and aim right for the heart. Uh oh, here comes “So Far Away.” Oy.
The moment I've been preparing for since the day my daughter was born has arrived. And the very last few days, as my friend Fran puts it, seem like a holding pattern—all your bags are packed. You're ready to go. But you're just another plane on the runway. Waiting. Inching. Waiting some more.
Pull off the Bad-Aid already. Let’s get it over with.
Over the past few weeks, I listened empathetically to parents of other college bound students who talked of this same odd stretch of time but I didn’t really understand how they felt until now. Just like all those clichés about “how fast it goes” you smile politely. Then, Poof! It's your turn to launch. The plane takes off. There’s no turning back.
The flight is uneventful.
Thank you, Universe.
All six bags arrive in tact.
Thank you, Universe.
The Hertz Rent-A-(Huge)-Car accommodates the “Pack & Hold” (a new concept in my college-bound vernacular), from Bed Bath & Beyond. In other words, the comforter, the linens, the hangers, the shoe rack, and the lavender scented eye mask that we picked out on the West Coast are waiting for us at the same named store in D.C. What a clever marketing strategy! They couldn’t have made it any easier. (I finally got to use that coupon (you know the one), for 20% off my entire purchase. It had been in my glove compartment for three years awaiting this bittersweet occasion.)
To my eyes, the campus is austere but the sophomores are at the entrance cheering us on and dancing to “Uptown Funk” as the line of other SUVs, (carting the same full-length-over-the-door-mirror) files in. This is the second time I cry.
The dorm room isn't perfect but the roommates couldn't be sweeter.
The Dean gives the parents a talk about letting go. The Priest and the Rabbi say a prayer. Over the next few days I notice that the subtle push-pull from my daughter—the need for independence versus the desire to stay small—grows more acute. There are texts in the middle of the night about forgotten flip-flops. A week prior I might have delivered them. But everything is different now. I can't rescue her any more. Well, not like I used to. She’ll have to figure these things out for herself.
I realize my usual outgoing texts asking “Where will you'll be?” “What are you doing?” and “When will you be home?” are a thing of the past. I'm on the outside.
Long ago I reached for you and there you stood.
One more song about moving along the highway. I think I'll be writing a few of those.
Thanks for reading. :(