The Packing Starts
Three weeks from today we'll take our fifth child to college for his freshman year. We've done this before; all summer I've falsely believed that fact would make this new transition easier. But as I shared coffee with my son this morning and started making the packing list, I felt the familial tug on my heart. And an occasional lump in my throat. He's leaving. Very soon.
It's a strange process to go through as a parent and a family. This letting go doesn't come easy.
In many ways, everyone is ready for the transition. The student needs some space to move on and explore; the parent needs some space to step back and review. The timing of children moving away to college happening as parents settle deeper into middle age isn't a mistake. In many ways, I'm ready for the life transition of our children becoming more independent. It's been close to fifteen years since my oldest step-son went to his first jr. high school dance and had a midnight curfew. We've been at this a long time.
And at the same time, I am never ready for them to leave. Like the mother duck in Make Way for Ducklings, there is something deeply satisifing about having them all in a row at my side. Forever. What I wouldn't give to gather them on the couch, each frozen in their toddler pugginess, to read this favorite children's book one more time.
Three weeks is going to go fast. We've got the college dorm room list started. We have some shopping to do. I need to review laundry basics a couple more times. Copy the prescription card. Check on his scholarships. Order new contact lenses. Have more coffee dates. And remind myself that just as the little ducklings were ready for the Boston Public Garden, my son is ready for the world.
Thought I would share our packing list. Click here for a printable PDF.