Well, another successful handoff of my ACTUAL HEART.
There’s this kind of energy in dropping off kids to college that’s equal parts excitement and physical and emotional shock. Not unlike going off an awesome ski jump into knee-deep snow (I live in the mountains where skiing is an appropriate metaphor for just about everything. Roll with me.). You launch into the air with exhilaration, a smile of excitement on your face and a good “hell yeah!” whoop, except somewhere before the hell yeah you accidentally land on a rock and your skis fling out from your body unnaturally causing you to land face first in the powder stash, back aching, snow down your pants, and skis nowhere in sight. Yep. Drop-off day feels exactly like that. Like an embarrassed “what the….?” kind of moment.
This is my second go at handing off my heart, and if I’m being honest I have to admit that this time it sucked waaaay less than the first. But I still have a bit of advice for anyone contemplating sending their kids to college: Don’t.
Just kidding. College is a thing, and it’s good for your character. I mean their character, duh.
But here’s my advice: For starters, it’s super helpful if your first child chooses a military service academy because that feels approximately like cutting off an appendage which makes sending off child #2 a walk in the park. I actually love the military now that they own my son, and my perspective on what constitutes “hard” is a bit, ahem, changed.
Also, once you’ve waved your last goodbye you’ll need to do something to take your mind off your sweet, adorable kid who said umbalella and trawballellies precisely two minutes ago and is now taking college courses you can’t even pronounce, and rooming with an actual firefighter. A nice two-hour drive in a snowstorm on windy roads in the middle of nowhere should do the trick. This takes concentration which means you can’t cry. This is a good thing.
You can also try lightening the moment (good luck with that). For instance, I overheard one dad choking back his tears as he hugged his sweet baby girl and said in a trembling voice, “I love you baby. Don’t do crack.” Well, at least it lightened my moment. She might still be a little freaked out.
Lastly, enroll in seminary. I realize this might seem like an extreme measure for a simple college drop-off but hear me out. In seminary you will study people like Freiderich Schleiermacher and Augustine and Immanuel Kant which makes your brain hurt. This leaves little room for things like wondering if your child is remembering to wash his underwear. It also gives you lots of homework and friends who like to talk theology and drink, and since Jesus drank a lot of red wine himself I think he’d basically approve.
Oh, and one last thing. You will want to look at old pictures and videos and reminisce about the cute things he or she did when they were little. You might even post said things on social media. I do not recommend this.
Set your hearts to Christmas break when he will once again leave his wet towels on the floor, come home at 2am and forget to eat until you make him dinner.