Not quite four years ago, I dropped my son off at a stately southern campus, gave him a hug and shed a few tears for change that felt like loss. Then I described it all in an essay titled “How To Send Your Son Off To College.” Of everything I have written in a decades long career, it is the piece that’s meant the most.
This is the bookend to that essay. Evan graduated last weekend, and we reversed our steps and welcomed him home, though only temporarily. He’s up in his childhood bedroom as I write this, a place that already feels too small, and I am at the keyboard thinking, once again, about how parenting means letting go.
How To Bring Your Son Home From College
1. Several weeks before graduation, begin to fret. About what you will wear to the dinners and ceremonies. About whether it will rain or sizzle. About how you are going to get your own spry but decidedly slower mother around a very large campus. About tickets, and reservations, and directions and schedules.
2. Realize you are really fretting about something else entirely. You used to think that the bright line between his past and future was the one between high school and college, but now you see it is the one between college and life. Or, maybe what you see is that each life event from now on will feel like THE life event, because that’s what life events are — reminders that nothing is ever as it used to be. READ MORE