The next time I leave Tuscaloosa, my boy won't be in the car with me.
I guess I should start at the beginning. Deuce and I spent Monday and Tuesday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at his college orientation. I was nervous. Will he like it? Will he be happy? Will he eat alone in his dorm room every night?
My first born who is quiet and introspective, who doesn't mind being alone and who was once described by a schoolmate as "the guy who doesn't talk" has eased my concern. Not totally, mind you, because I am, after all, still his mother, but to a great degree.
How did he manage, you ask?
By ditching me completely for two days straight so that he could sit, eat, rock climb, walk to Publix to see if they had a deck of cards (they didn't) and go back out again for ice cream with his new friends. And I couldn't have been happier.
Oh, I suffered in silence in my hotel room, with nothing but room service, a hot shower, Dexter, and utter peace and quiet to console me. No big deal. I was fine with it.
I won't lie. It was emotional when they played a slide show of campus life with I'm Glad You Came playing in the background. There were some tears when the Dean of the Honors College (love him!) shared the story of taking his oldest son to school for the first time. There were moments when they were talking about safety and schedules and housing for sophomore year (!!) when I had to fight the urge to say, "He's not ready!" and take him home.
But he is. He is ready and I am so excited for him and grateful for the time I've had him home with me and sad that it's already time to go. As we drove out of town and I listened to him talk about his schedule and the people he met and renting a bike vs. bringing a car, I couldn't help thinking that the next time I leave Tuscaloosa it will be too quiet. He won't be with us.
And even if he's really and truly ready, I'm not sure I ever will be. Let's see if I can fake it.