After a sweltering July in the Northeast, August usually rushes in with uncertain weather. Cool rainy days and nights followed by the eventual rebound of heat and sun. The knowledge that school is soon looming in the future. For me, I’m anxiously waiting for the structure to return to our home. The kids not quite ready to succumb to early mornings and homework. This year, however, the month of August returned with a different meaning for everyone in our house. My DD (darling daughter) was counting down the days until she would attend the University of Alabama. She was overjoyed and I was stuck in between grief, denial, worry, sadness and at some level trying to embrace her happiness. Wondering how I would actually cope with the day of move in, I attempted to hide my sadness by making lists. We would ship, fly and buy all necessary items for her dorm so much planning was needed. As the day approached I tried to contain my melancholy as to not hamper any of her delight. Keeping my tears hidden from everyone in my family.
We arrived in Alabama. Driving around the campus. Getting our bearings. Signing for the packages we shipped. Meeting other parents and trying to do anything other than think about our eventual goodbyes!
On Wednesday afternoon we did our last-minute shopping. Filling up carts with items I thought she would need. Trying to make sure she had everything for her first year. It was the only way I felt in control of the situation and the only way I could make it through the shopping trip.
I had signed us up for a Stadium Tour. We were in a town that is all about college football. Another way to dismiss what was really happening if only for an hour. The tour of Bryant-Denny stadium was excellent and another way to meet other parents in our same situation. Everyone sharing information and travel stories seemed to help overcome the loss of what was soon to come for us.
Trying to indulge in local specialities always a must for a first time visitor.
We got in line with our car, moving ever so slowly to the dorm. Someone knew I was having trouble with this moment. Then it was our turn. Unloading the boxes, everything being delivered to her room. They had this down. It all worked. We tried to organize her room and her life for the upcoming year. She had her own ideas how she wanted everything. We broke down boxes. We rallied with the roommate’s families for a group dinner. All of us seemingly getting to know one another. While I struggled of what was to come in a couple of short hours. I knew I should be ready for this. I read articles on how to manage it. I wasn’t ready. I don’t think anyone can be. I made my goodbye quick it was the only way I could handle the situation. Sans DD, my husband and I returned to our hotel room and went to the airport early the next morning. Tuscaloosa, Alabama is approximately 1000 miles from our town in New Jersey, about 14-15 hours to drive. I will not be randomly stopping in to see my DD and she will not be coming home for a long weekend. That is ok. I admire her independence, her strong will and her desire to achieve what she has dreamed of these past four years! I will survive and she will thrive!