Because of his dorm and floor, he was assigned a 7:30 am move in time. I am not a morning person. W. is not a morning person. D. (hubby and dad) is the only one who is a morning person so he was completely perplexed when I insisted that we needed to get a hotel room for the night before move in. His argument was that the school is a mere hour and a half from us. My argument was that no one wants to wake me up to drive somewhere at 5 am if they value their life. We got a hotel room. The plan was to drive up sometime late afternoon and be well rested for the next morning. But in the time honored tradition of clueless teenagers everywhere, W. not only wasn't ready to leave at a reasonable hour, he didn't help me pack up all of the stuff that had taken up residence on the dining room table or help me pack the car, but he invited those friends who hadn't yet left for college themselves to come over and hang out and play video games for hours. He did pack up the clothes he wanted to take before they arrived though (more on this later), so there's that. After we fed the additional teenagers one last dinner and finally shooed them out the door, I finished packing up the car, we hopped in, and headed out. It was almost 11 pm when we got to the hotel. W. rolled himself out of the car, directly into a bed, and off to sleep. Apparently it's weird that I wanted him to be all jazzed up, chatty, and excited about the next day.
Meanwhile, anal retentive mom (that would be me, for anyone in doubt), unpacked and organized everything else. (I did refrain from alphabetizing anything but only with the greatest difficulty.) I asked nicely if I could hang up the shirts he'd squashed into the drawer but was summarily told no. I asked why we'd bought hangers then and he said he didn't know. Yes, you've guessed it, there was no way I was going to cry about leaving him when he was being an ornery little twit. He was grumpy. I was grumpy. D. left the room "to stay out of the way," wisely fleeing to check out the rest of the hall and dorm. Instead of continuing to argue (the roommate was arguing with his mom too so either it was contagious or this is one of those unpleasant things they don't warn you about dropping your kid off at college, kind of like no one tells you about the gross body after affects of giving birth), we found D. and went off to get breakfast. Food helped the hangry a lot.
Since W.'s side of the room was mostly handled by then, we made a run to buy the very few things we'd forgotten (or never knew he'd need/want). One extra pillow, an HDMI cord, an over the door hook, an ethernet cable, and a plethora of snacks and soda later and we were back in the room. Realizing that there was nowhere to store the snacks (it really is a tiny room), I made the sneaky suggestion that if he let me hang up his shirts, that would free up one of his three dresser drawers to become a snack drawer. He thought that was a genius idea. I'm not only always right, I pretty much always get my way. ;-) And since he was letting me muck about in the dresser, I opened both other drawers as well and folded his shorts and pants. Remember when I said he packed his own clothes? The child packed three pairs of athletic shorts, one pair of cargo shorts, two pairs of jeans, and two pairs of dress pants. He had a tiny stack of underwear and about 5 pairs of socks. I'm fairly certain my home laundry lessons fell on deaf ears so this could be interesting. He's either going to be filthy, become a nudist, or he's going to learn how to do laundry pretty quickly since this will have to last him at least six weeks until Family Weekend. I've been practicing though and I can confidently say: not my problem.
Convocation was billed as business casual. Pretty much everyone we saw was dressed nicely. I even wore a dress. When W. came downstairs to meet us for breakfast before the ceremony, he was wearing a button down shirt and dress pants so you'd think he got the memo, right? But remember when he crumpled up all of his things in his drawer and then snapped at me for wanting to hang them? Yeah, he looked like he'd slept in his clothes. Not one other kid we passed looked as schlumpy as my kid. The wrinkles in his shirt had wrinkles. And he didn't have it tucked in. This was apparently to hide the fact that he managed to break his belt while getting dressed. As we walked along, D. noticed that W. was also wearing white athletic socks with his khakis and dress shoes. Seems he forgot to pack dress socks too. And he hadn't shaved. Classy. It's no wonder that when I looked at the photos of convocation later, my kid is not in a single one.
I found it hard to sleep those first nights with him gone. In the past when he's been out at night, I have had the reassurance of the door chime waking me up to let me know he's home safe and sound. Saturday night and every night since then, that chime has never sounded and I think that's why I've tossed and turned. It's a huge change for him and for me. Maybe bigger for me. And I will admit to having clicked through every last picture the school took of each event during welcome weekend looking for my child. But he's either still sporting hopelessly wrinkled clothing (I wouldn't take a picture of that either) or he's decided to taunt me by staying as far as possible from any cameras because he doesn't appear in a single one. Seriously, is it too much to ask for him to just be on the outskirts of even one picture?!
So how am I doing with all if this? Well, I didn't cry at any point but I have to say it is a bit disorienting for me to have such a huge piece of my heart building a life away from me after 18 and a half years of building it with me. But I think I'm doing okay. Ask me again next year when another big chunk of my heart goes off to build her life elsewhere too. For 18 years W. has been my baby. Now he's his own person. I hope we've done a good job with him and I hope he's having the time of his life. I also hope he remembers to call home sometime soon!