We made it safely through high school with our twins, Kat and Elena. Very minor bumps, as they were focused on school, grades, activities, college choices, and enough fun to still make it an overall extraordinarily positive experience. By December of their senior year they had early admission to college secured and so the last semester was less stressful, though no less busy. After graduation, the Last Summer at home sped by. And so it was here. Those last few weeks of semi-chaotic preparation before the big moves when parents fully appreciate that we are not as central to their lives, not as critical to their success (aside from the financial stability we brought to their college existences).
The true reality of that separation came on our fateful college move-in weekend. Alas, the girls were in different east coast cities and Kat got stuck with dad. I vividly remember her lamenting to Angela on the phone while we were in a D.C. Target store to outfit her Georgetown dorm room: “Mom, Elena scored! Right now I SO wish I got you! Dad has no clue about fitted sheets.”
And the final denouement on Sunday morning. The school had cleverly scheduled a 9am student orientation, in order that parents were forced to let go. A quick hug and a kiss, thank yous (heartfelt, I know for sure) for all the equipment bought and all the support provided. Kat then turned to head off to her first official solo activity. There was no last look back. I was left with a few hours to kill. I sat on a bench in the school’s courtyard, awash in self-pity, watching forlornly as other parents said their goodbyes, shoulders sagging as they headed back to the great unknown of the empty nest. Nevertheless, I sat with a measure of contentment and satisfaction, knowing my work here was done.