Thing 1 has officially flown the coop. Albeit with our help and two car loads of
crap meaningful things. Funny how everything he deemed important (including the aeron miller desk chair he got from his grandfather for graduation) fit into either the mini cooper (the chair) and the prius (everything else), but when I opened the door to his room, it was as though he had not left. There’s still a roomful of crap meaningful things everywhere.
Am I supposed to wax poetic about his leaving? Everyone else is (about their own Things, not mine). Yes, he will be missed, and his chores will have to be re-appropriated, but he has been oh-so-ready to get out of Dodge for a good six months. So I call this one a win. He’s admitted to nervousness, and I can’t blame him. By the time I had left for college, I had moved a half dozen times and started over in just as many schools. My Things have been lucky to have spent their entire lives in a single town. They’ve never been “the new kid.” That can be a huge plus, or, depending on how you look at it, a negative as well. But Thing 1 has never shied away from meeting folks, and even as we were leaving, I overheard him introducing himself to a group of complete strangers, so…I think he’ll be fine.
On the way home, Thing 2 asked me why I wasn’t crying, like all the other moms. I related to her a story about when I dropped Thing 1 off at daycare when I went back to work when he was 12 weeks old. I told her that before Thing 1 was born, and everyday for those 12 weeks I was home, I was so focused on that first day of daycare. I read everything I could get my hands on to prepare for that. I made sure he had enough diapers and extra clothing, that I pumped enough breast milk, that I packed supplemental formula and even crackers (for crying out loud) just in case. The daycare had video surveillance that the parents could tap into, and I made sure the tech guy at work had set that up beforehand. And then I dropped him off. And I was oddly calm. I handed my baby over, and the world hadn’t ended. I drove to work, and worked, and picked him up 9 hours later. And he was still alive, and better yet–cheerful. Not so bad, I remember thinking.
Until day 2. It wasn’t until then I realized that day 1 wasn’t a special occasion. It was our new normal. I had steeled myself for day 1 without thinking beyond that. So knowing that I’m a slow learned, I suspect Thing 1’s absence will hit hard most likely when I take our annual First Day of School photos and he’s not standing there, outside our house, barefoot, because he can’t find his shoes.