The final drop off. We had two days together before the big move into my son’s dorm. He’s moving in, not me…I have to keep reminding myself. It was crazy hot and humid and although I was having my first real ‘I know how to get around in NYC and isn’t this all exciting’ moments, my son was beyond anxious. We fed him, a lot, and talked of budgets and balancing whilst dining on $40 steaks. It was a mish-mosh of emotions building in him, and Husband, and myself, and I suppose we were all waiting for the moment when we were going to say goodbye.
Then Sunday came.
His room was as small as I expected and perhaps a bit bigger than he pictured. His roommate already had flashes of OCD mixed with a boyhood mess when it came to anything on his bed. We noticed all his button downs and ties that lined his side of the closet as we unpacked my son’s leather jackets and t-shirts. They are both the eldest sons of an all boy household so I’m hoping that common denominator alone will bond them…because by the looks of their wardrobes, they are miles apart. His roommate’s mom was there and invited my son to dinner any Friday night he wanted…she has no idea what she’s just done and how much he can eat!
His other two flatmates were global kids who look like potential buddies, although one did resemble my friend in high school who was a drug dealer. Hmm. Husband dealt with his nerves by greeting everyone moving into the flat as my son and I made his bed together. Dare I say for the first time?? I bought him the most ridiculously expensive tempur-pedic mattress topping, and a mattress allergy cover, and a mattress pad that goes over the whole thing to keep it together, so with all of those additions, his bed was about a half a foot higher than normal and looked like a throne of some kind. It gave us something to laugh about for sure.
My son didn’t want us to fill the fridge or put up his posters or buy him more lights. He, dare I say, didn’t want us to take over in any way. So we fed him one last time at a local restaurant and then walked down the street away from his dorm to say goodbye. He took my hand as we were walking and I kept looking forward so as not to lose it completely. I did catch a tear running down his face and I literally gulped mine down while we walked. He told me not to be sad and I told him I wasn’t; we were just going to miss him – easiest explanation for the torrent of emotions crashing into each other in my heart. And then we all stopped walking and my son now turned to his dad to say goodbye. And there he was, big and strong dad, leader of our family, sobbing and sobbing and sobbing on the streets of New York. He just couldn’t stop; it was the funniest and sweetest thing I had ever seen. There was nothing left to do but to laugh at him – Husband was literally hysterical. All my gulping down and helpful hubby is like Niagra-friggin-Falls next to me!
Our son used the comic relief as his exit and left us on the sidewalk waving goodbye with our puddle of emotions. We stood there, sobbing and laughing and waving for a while, and then walked slowly back to our hotel crying the whole way there. Life moves on as it should and dropping your first child at university is one of those defining moments when a cycle is completed. I’m grateful I feel I did the best job I could and gave it my all because that is the only solace I have to take away. That, and that massive smile on my son’s face.