Leaving Her There

Leaving Her There

Yesterday was such a weird day. I didn’t expect to feel proud, terrified, excited, tearful, broken-hearted, and hopeful in the space of less than 8 hours. But I did.

We dropped our oldest off at college yesterday. She is only a few miles from where I work. But her room is empty. I closed the door so that I didn’t have to look at how clean and bare it is. When I called out a good bye to her sister on my way out this morning, I couldn’t call out to her.

When I woke up in the middle of the night, I wondered if she had accidentally locked herself out if she went to the bathroom in the night because her door locks automatically unless you undo it. Then I wondered how she would get help if she did. My mind only gave me an image of her stuck in the hallway.

We moved her in a day early so that I didn’t have to take off work. Her roommate won’t move in until today, so she spent her first night there alone. I think another girl in her suite was there, but I’m not sure if she stayed last night.

I ran out of my anxiety medication a day before the move, so we drove straight to the pharmacy on our way home. Her dad and sister and I were quiet all the way there. We didn’t even listen to the radio. It was like some sorrowful pact that we made without even talking about it.  My mother once told me that, after she dropped me off at school, she didn’t cry until she was driving home, and then she had to pull over. Luckily my husband was driving. I think he wanted to so that he had something else to concentrate on.

We raised her to be where she is. We know that she can do it. It’s the what ifs that creep into your head and camp out there.

I have struggled with depression for a very long time, and more recently added anxiety into the mix. Unfortunately, these are things I have passed on to her. She has worked hard to be where she is, and I am so very proud of her willingness to carry on in the face of her fear. She is so strong, and beautiful, and funny, and awesome. I hope she lets others in so they can see her.

I am still struggling with when to call or text because I don’t want to send her the message that I don’t think she can handle it. But I don’t want her to think I’m not thinking about her. Basically, I’m over-thinking everything at this point.

I hope that she would laugh at me for being so silly if she knew where my mind has been in the last 14 hours since we left her. I hope she would tell me stories of how she went down to the lounge and met some other kids who moved in early, and how she got her side of the room just the way she wanted it. I hope she calls me today and tells me that her bed is so comfy, and she slept like a baby.

To all of the families leaving their babies at school this fall, I am with you. I can only pass on the wise, comforting words that others have given me- You raised them to be successful young people who will conquer and lead this world into the future. Have confidence in the job you’ve done, and trust that they can do it.