My Daughter Left for College

What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Blogging-Part 1

Empty nest has finally arrived for Ron and I. Lindsey now lives in North Carolina and attends Elon University.

Sending Lindsey off drained me physically and mentally. The month prior to her departure was an emotional elevator—up and down with seemingly random stops. And someone else was definitely pushing the buttons.

Pride alternated with panic. Joy and excitement flooded me whenever I remembered how much I enjoyed my time own college years at Cal. Emptiness and longing took over when I dwelled on the fact that my baby—on to bigger and better things—would no longer be living with us.

And then there was all of the wondering. Is Elon the right college for Lindsey? Will she get along with her roommates? Will she like her classes? Will she be happy? That was the big one: Will she be happy?

My physical exhaustion came from the endless trips to Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond to acquire dorm room stuff. I visited these stores more times in the month before Lindsey left—than in the past five years combined. Lindsey perpetually needed “A quick trip to get just a couple of things.” Risers to loft the bed. Hooks for the back of the closet door. Command Strips for mounting photos of her friends to the wall of her new room.

Lindsey’s college shopping list took on a life of its own. New items appeared at the end of the list as quickly as we checked items off the top. Every “quick trip” took an hour and by the time we got to the checkout, the “couple of things” overflowed the cart. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching. It nearly wore through the magnetic strip on my credit card. I think both stores should send me a thank you note—or perhaps make me an honorary stockholder.

The most painful part for me was the repeated visits to Target. I just don’t like that place. Because its TV ads lie. On TV, Target has funky merchandise and an artsy aesthetic. I go to the store expecting excitement and fun. And then when I get there, it’s just Walmart with wider aisles, better lighting and more colorful merchandise.

So. Disappointing.

Ron and I both drove to Elon with Lindsey. The drive from Maine to North Carolina took fifteen hours each way. The entire trip—including helping Lindsey move-in and a couple of additional trips to the local Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond to procure additional plastic storage containers and even more Command Strips—took six days.

During those six days, I felt proud. Beat-my-chest, brag to strangers proud. I wanted hug and squeeze Lindsey. Tell her how wonderful she is—and how much I’m going to miss her. Every time I looked at my daughter I felt like crying—both in sadness and in joy—all at the same time.

I held my feelings back as much as I could. I didn’t want to upset Lindsey. Or worse, be annoying. So instead of hugging her, I turned around so she wouldn’t see my eyes tear up.

When it was time to leave Lindsey and head home, Ron and I exited quickly. Once again, Lindsey missed seeing my tears.

Lindsey has been at school for a month now. The good news is that she loves Elon. And that makes me happier than just about anything else in the world.

The second piece of good news is that I wont’ have to step foot in Target again. At least not until Lindsey’s mid-October break.

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