I had been wondering how it would hit me. When. Where. In what way. Sending my daughter to college 3,000 miles away. My daughter. My baby, my gift, my joy, my amazement, my hope, my dance partner.
And would she even get to go?
Yes. Yes, she would. She does. We’re here. Loaded with luggage and treasures from her bedroom — touchstones. Home. Comfort.
Masks and sanitizers, paperwork proving we both have been tested. College in the age of Covid.
We would have three days together before the big move in. Three days on top of a lifetime of days together. But even so… what I would give for more.
Shopping and eating and exploring her new city. Snuggling in our hotel bed, room service, laughter, a bathroom counter covered with mother/daughter essentials.
Not a tear shed. No sadness. Not yet.
Some last minute words of advice; don’t engage with strange men who gawk and hit on you as they pass you by on the street (it happened while we were walking). Don’t leave a drink unattended EVER. Don’t smoke or take anything from anyone because nowadays everything is cut with fentanyl (when I asked her to repeat that one later she said, “don’t eat anything because everything has fentanyl” — close enough). Don’t walk through the park after dark alone, don’t jaywalk even though I do and don’t forget every single thing I have ever taught you your entire life because it all matters.
It all matters.
I was allowed two hours to help her set up her dorm room. Two hours to unpack, unload, unwrap, unwind the unending boxes we had shipped. Two hours to see her in her room, take pictures of her view, make small talk with her roommate to assess whether she’s cool enough for my girl, make her bed (a parent must), and get the hell out.
Again, college in the age of Covid.
We did it. With minutes to spare. So we grabbed one last iced-latte before she went into dorm quarantine and I headed back to the hotel.
It was all going to be okay. All of it. She was good. We were good. We got this. College dorm room move in complete and neither of us shed a tear. We so got this.
I watched her as she walked back inside. Her long legs, her strong posture, her beautiful hair shining in the sunlight. What a child I have. What a human. My heart… and into the building she went.
I didn’t imagine this day because I try to live in the present at all times. Wherever I am is where I am. And now… this is where I am.
Alone in a hotel room. It’s so quiet. Where is she? She should be in the bed in her cozy robe on her phone.
I order in room service. For one.
It’s so damn quiet.
I take a bubble bath… because she loves her bubble baths. She is a bubble bath.
I get out.
I go to brush my teeth. Reaching for my toothbrush in the water glass by the hotel sink.
And that’s when it hits me. There is only one toothbrush.
Oh my god… oh my god. And out of my soul through my eyes everything spills.
So now I know. How. When Where. In what way.
I am going to miss her. I already do.