When we dropped off Annie at college nearly two months ago, I was excited for her. I knew she was ready for this next adventure and I was confident that she would do well. I will admit to having a good cry the night before she left. But when we dropped her off at school, I didn't shed any tears. Heck, I didn't even cry when two hours after we left she posted on Facebook that she'd gotten (and been hiding) a tattoo on her leg.
In the days and weeks surrounding Annie's college departure, plenty of people have said to me "How are you? " Or sometimes "How are you," as if sending my daughter off to college should have left me sobbing buckets of salty tears. I kind of felt like a bad mom when I answered honestly, "I'm fine." Maybe I shouldn't be fine. Maybe I should be feeling my heartstrings stretched to their capacity, crossing off the days until she comes up with big red Xes on the calendar in the kitchen.
My boss, whose youngest child is Annie's age and is off to college himself this year, assured me that I am not a bad mom. "You will miss her at the weirdest times," she said. And it turns out she was right.
The first time I really missed Annie was on the way home from visiting her for Family Weekend. We arrived on a Friday night and hung out in her dorm room with about 6 or 8 of her theatre buddies. We got FroYo and walked around the campus. The next day, we watched her hang lights in the theatre, went to hometown favorite burger place and drove out to a pumpkin patch, where I got some great pictures of Annie and the boys.
The next morning, we headed home. And on our way home is when I really started to miss her. It wasn't so much that Annie wasn't coming home with us. It was more that I didn't have her to myself anytime over the weekend. The family time was fun, but as we were headed back to Indianapolis, I found myself longing for some girl time with my girl.
So maybe, I'm not a bad mom after all.
The other time I find myself missing my college kid is at work. I work on a college campus and lately, I've had a lot of meetings that require me to crisscross the campus several times a week. As I walk past the students who are close to my daughter's age, I think to myself "Annie is probably walking to class right now." I look at the brick buildings and the changing leaves and the kids with their frappa-mocha-lattes, backpacks and school spirity sweatshirts and think about Annie doing the same things on her college campus. And I miss her. Not in a break-down-crying-need-to-talk-to-a-therapist way, but in a happy-for-her-but-wish-I-could-spend-time-with-her kind of way.
And guess what? She'll be home this weekend for fall break! She will be home to see Robbie's football game, eat dinner with us, cuddle with the dog, and go to church with us. And on Monday, she and I will have girl time getting our hair done and driving her back to school.
I can't wait.