Wednesday was what my college roommate would call a "mad, sad, glad day." Tara always could hit the nail on the head, and a text stream with her and my other roommates was a highlight on a day that otherwise broke my heart into pieces. Leaving Aden (and a piece of the aforementioned broken heart) in Boulder brought back memories of my own painful freshman drop-off, and my brain kept going in circles in disbelief that I was leaving my child to live someplace without me. Though we had been preparing for months, the actual move out / move in struck with the shock of a cold shower.
The excitement of a bustling, welcoming campus buoyed us through the unloading of the car, the decoration of the room, the introductions to her roommate and her roommate's family. The day was clear, the mountains loomed over all, the dorm room was unexpectedly large and clean. We walked the route between a few of Aden's classes and admired the untrodden lawns, the welcome tents, and the well-stocked bookstore (where we bought more swag).
Then lunch, then abrupt departure, with Aden reassuring me. "You got this, Mom," she said as I hid my streaming eyes behind oversized sunglasses and struggled to get words out of my clogged throat. Rob reassured me all the way home about her readiness, her happiness and the exciting new worlds at her fingertips. My agreement still didn't prepare me to pass her empty room or to stop in shock at the newly clean corner where her college supplies lived all summer.
It's a physical hurt for me, a pain somewhere in the gut that bursts out at inappropriate moments (like my son's back to school night) and induces tears and absent-mindedness. Part of me is focused on Boulder, on what Aden's doing now, and the other parts can't seem to get in gear...yet. I have to figure this out and move forward. Snapchat and texts help, as does proximity. Stay tuned for Aden's rapid forward movement and exciting trajectory....and for my slower progress and brave face.