Personal Essays

kelly in Fort Lauderdale

It started gradually.

I didn't see it coming.

When my first child went off to college, people asked me if I was sad. I really wasn't. She was ready to fly and I felt like I had done my job. I was excited for her. She was outgoing, liked to do things her own way, liked the school and the Animal Studies program she was going to attend. Tracey needed this.

When my second child, Alex, went off to college, I felt pretty much the same. He was ready, he said. This is our homebody child, the one who wouldn't let me out of his site when he was a little tyke. But that was long ago. And so we dropped him off. And on the way out of his dorm back to the car, after I had said goodbye, the tears started rolling down my cheeks.

Where did that come from?

I hadn't even known I was sad.

Now my youngest heads off to college in the fall. And she's ready, too. And I can't even talk about it without my eyes filling up with tears and threatening to overflow. And sometimes even overflowing. For awhile I didn't know what was up with these feelings. For goodness sake, I always prided myself as the kind of mom that did her job, which was growing my kids to maturity with the skills to live their own lives. What happened to that person who now was brought to tears at the thought of her youngest leaving home?