Three days before my son was scheduled to leave for college 300 miles away, it hit me that it meant he would actually no longer be living with us. One less place setting on the dinner table and an empty bed upstairs. I burst into tears at this sudden revelation and wondered how I hadn’t thought about this before. What was I thinking all summer long as we excitedly shopped the back to school lists, making sure he had everything and anything he could possibly ever need for the rest of his life. I must have been in a state of denial thinking that even though he was going to college, he would still be home for dinner and sleep in his own bed every night. Needless to say I cried for two days straight.
Hiding my emotional collapse from the rest of the family was not easy, but with the unexpected heart-pounding realization that my life would never be the same again, I felt helpless. In a weak attempt, I froze teaspoons to use on my puffy eyes and had to wear my old eye glasses—the ones I got when I was in college with the loose lens that fell out whenever I looked down—because my contacts kept getting clouded up from the tears. Hopefully, no one noticed.