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sending firstborn off to college

A Mothers Confession: Scared and Excited. Sending my firstborn son off to college.

I must confess. I am both scared and excited about sending my firstborn off to college. Now, let me set the record straight. I have always been comfortable with sending my children off for summer and other vacations sans moi. I encouraged my son to apply to colleges not only out of state, but also out of country and was serious — he could go as far as his heart desired. But now I am nervous, scared, excited (for him), and panic mode is just around the corner.

Ok, I have been preparing my firstborn for life outside the nest for quite some time. I, unfortunately, had to leave him in a Washington, DC hospital for his first 10 days of life in the neonatal intensive care unit (aka NICU). Of those 10 days, was only allowed to stay overnight in the hospital for 2 or 3 nights after my c-section.

From an early age, my son would visit his beloved grandmother (aka Mamie) out of state and when he was older, traveled as an unaccompanied minor with his younger brother to France to stay with his French grandparents. He’s gone on school-organized trips to Europe and Asia.

He is a trustworthy son and when he travels, I honestly do not worry since he is calm, cool, and collected about getting from point A to point B. So much so that earlier this summer, I let him borrow my car (we’re a one car family) for the weekend to drive 3 hours to visit his father and friends in Maryland. Anyone who really knows me and how much I love my red Saturn Vue can appreciate how big a deal that was!

So, this month, the day of reckoning will arrive. August 16th is move-in day at his college dorm. I know that once he moves in, I won’t see him until the end of November for Thanksgiving break. Well, not physically at least. Sure, these days we have Skype, FaceTime, etc. and I just might use those once in a while not so much for me and my son.

Actually, let’s face it, our three cats might have a nervous breakdown when their much-adored master leaves the house, so the video chat will also be for the feline family members. I am already having flashbacks about the evil stink eye, no, cat eyes that I was given for two weeks when N. left for an overseas trip during spring break.

He is like the Pied Piper to those kitties.

Oh and who will my younger son annoy once N. leaves? Although they are almost four years apart and aren’t constantly in each other’s faces, dinner time without my older son is surely going to be an adjustment.

My younger son looks up to his older brother and has always had him around for sage guidance. Sometimes the conversations I overhear (or learn about after the fact) between them are more of a parent/child nature thanks to my older son’s maturity level.

So you might ask, how is a scared and nervous mom dealing with the excitement (son’s)? I am in full on planning and nesting mode.

Yes, indeed, simultaneously. Last weekend, we went shopping for dorm supplies chez Target. This weekend the focus is on properly equipping my son for harsh winters since he will be living near one of the Great Lakes. His wise Mamie recommended that we purchase two pairs of boots.

On the financial side, he’s already got a work-study job lined up (he took care of that in July). I’ve checked with my insurance company to make sure my homeowner’s policy extends to him. Yes, it does–10% of my personal belongings policy will cover my son.

My insurance agent also asked if he will be driving up at school. Not this school year since we still only have one car. She told me we qualify for a full-time student discount which will save our family beaucoup bucks on car insurance!

I guess there’s truly no way to prepare for the upcoming departure from the nest, but in my heart, I know my son is more than capable and ready to leave home for college.

Have you sent a child off to college yet? If so, please share your tips for adjusting to this huge milestone in the comments below.

Flash Update: Well, we had quite an eventful send off! First, I was able to mask my sadness when listening to the radio and CNN’s breaking news about Aretha Franklin’s passing. The tears streaming down my face were for the queen of soul AND for my son. Ironically, Aretha Franklin passed away the day my baby was leaving the nest. When he was a baby, he delighted in her Respect song.

But, more ‘excitement’ (as if losing the queen of soul weren’t enough for one day!!!) was in the cards.

About 20 miles before we reached his university, my car started making funny noises and wouldn’t go faster than about 40 mph.

Yep! I was terrified that the engine was about to blow up. I had to move to the slow lane, put on the hazard lights, and pray we would arrive on campus in one piece! I asked my son to try to find a mechanic, but each mechanic’s shop on the way was closed or out of business.

Fortunately, we made it on campus and up the steep hills. I will write a separate post about his arrival, but just wanted to say that my firstborn son has officially left the nest.

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