It’s bad, y’all. I plan on writing about other things than my oldest son moving to college (7 hours away), but his absence is profoundly apparent around this place. It’s not like I’m not used to him being gone…he did spend every other weekend and several weeks in the summer at his dad’s house in Austin for his entire life. This is different. And, it’s making me a little cray. (Do kids these days even still say that?) (See, my model for this kind of information is gone. What if cray means something else…like, thirsty does nowadays.) (What if I’m actually referencing something super shady, like drugs, or gangs, or violence?) My urban dictionary is in a dorm in Fayetteville, and I’m one milk dud away from certifiably cray–if that still means what I think it does.
I’ll spare you every heartbreaking detail of our good-bye. Know that my heart physically ached as Kaden’s truck went straight toward campus, and our truck turned right to get on the interstate. I pretty much held it together until then. Since, I’ve been teetering between the full-fledged ugly cry or a milk dud/swedish fish induced coma. And, because now I’ve had roughly 96 hours to recognize the irrationality of my thoughts on that long ride home, maybe they will provide comfort when you, too, take your kid to college and experience some of the most irrational thinking in all your 18 years of parenting. Know you are not alone.
Irrational Thoughts from the long ride home:
- What if Kaden meets and marries a Duggar girl and has 18 children and I won’t be able to afford to buy my grandkids Christmas gifts, much less, remember all their names?
- What if said Duggar girl thinks her mother-in-law is going to be a sweet, mild mannered, skirt wearing, King James Version reading, soft spoken woman like her own mother?
- What if Kaden isn’t smart enough for college? What if it’s because I quit breast feeding him when he was 10 days old and spoon fed him cereal that very same day?
- Did I have the “5 conversations I must have” with him per Vicki Courtney? What if I only had 4 and the 5th one was the most important?
- Does he know how to read a map?
- If he wanted to eat healthy, have I taught him the difference between a carb and a protein?
- Would it be weird if I asked his roommate to take a “first day of school” pic? The chalkboard sign with “13th Grade” wouldn’t be necessary.
- What if his affection for Arkansas is contagious and my 3 other children want to go 7 hours away for college?
- Did I hug him enough?
- Does he know that I’m his biggest fan and I’m cheering wildly for him?
- And, that my love and grace won’t run out?
- Does he remember how to tie a tie?
- Did I tell him about the “fancy places” and how there is more than one fork to use? Would he know which one to use?
- Will he get lonely?
- Will he know not to eat unhealthy amounts of milk duds, swedish fish, and laffy taffy to drown out the loneliness?
And, that was only the first five minutes of the car ride.
Good-byes are tough. But, like my wise, non-verbose husband often says, “Better a terrible ending, than an endless terrible.” He’s right. I don’t want Kaden living on my couch when he’s 40. But, I sure wouldn’t mind it today. Instead, I’ve got a box of milk duds waiting to cuddle on the couch.