CC asked me to schedule my departure from the USA, not the morning after move in day. He thought I should stay and go to church with her, take her to lunch, then fly out on Monday morning. After her move in the morning, there was a convocation which was wonderful. It was just the right amount of humor and reflection to help the parents feel that it was time for this big step.
The upperclassmen came and surrounded the class of 2021 and prayed first for the parents, then the students.
And after that, most parents left (they handed us a pack of tissues as we exited the church!). I still had 36 hours to go before my flight. I had been teasing Firstborn that I would just wear my ball camp and MC t-shirt and pose as a transfer student, tagging along behind her. Of course, I didn't. But I did slip in the back of the gym for the big sports team launch.
And I texted her this picture that I was making a new friend.
The football team had a scrimmage. Part way through that night, I felt it was time for me to go. I was sitting alone (she would have stayed with me, but I felt it was very important in those first few hours that she make friends and start to hang with folks there). And I felt, very, very alone. I realize that I am not the first parent to ever drop a first kid off at college. And I have had many, many folks send me notes that they understand how I'm feeling. But I simply can't put into words what it's like for me. I am 100% confident that she is in God's hands. I'm not worried about her health or safety. She has the Creator of the Universe holding her. And I'm not really a worrier anyway. I'm not worried about her determination to walk with the Lord. She's established and simply could not function without the Lord at this point in her life. So, here it is. I just miss her. I miss her 6000 miles. It's a transatlantic missing her. As I have processed all of this in my mind, I think the conclusion I came to, which helped me the most is this....this is a new sacrifice that has never been required of me. Having my 5 kids here with me has made it easier to be "here." And slowly those supporting blocks which have always eased the burden will be removed. So, that's it. When I finally pieced that together in my mind, that "sacrifice" conclusion helped me voice what has been on my heart. I want absolutely no burden on her shoulders for this. I am determined that the weight I am bearing will not be transferred to her heart, as she is doing exactly what she is supposed to be doing. I want to do for her what I would want done for me (when I leave each year), which is a positive outlook, a focus on the positives, and not the heavy guilt and emotion that change nothing but just make it harder.
So, I left the game and went to Big Lots before it closed. I wanted to buy her a basket for her room and few more things for a big care package before I left. Somehow it felt like the right thing to do.