Yesterday was the dress rehearsal for the real send off today. She was still ensconced “en famille” until just an hour ago. Yes it was tough. But Carnegie Mellon sure made their case why she was ready and they were prepared to include her in their family. They have studied the transition that takes place when families leave their most precious cargo at their doorstep and they rolled out such energy from the first moment we arrived. One hundred and twenty student volunteers, trained to help with the unloading and set up, playing role of “moderator”, for what would eventually happen…the transfer. From my arms into theirs. They made it easy, fun and entertaining but never enough to take the sting of leaving her behind.
We did need more stuff. Nothing a trip to Target could not resolve. Even they had their army of greeters and helpers to get through the shopping expedition in one piece. It seemed everyone was working to get us, the parents out of town and leave our kids for their adventure. Back in her room, a room she luckily shares with a friend, her stuff got organized, all in place, all ready for the studies and parties ahead. The room already looked lived in and home to future super stars.
A few presentations later, a speech from the University President and the Beatles song “Let it Be”. Estimated time of departure was getting close. It reminded me of a past experience at summer camp in Maine when she was 8 years old. She told us just before getting out of the car that she would let us know when it was time to leave. We hung around, waiting for the signal. After she met a few girls; she turned to us and said “now”. Taken by surprise, we looked at each other and knew she had found her sea legs. We skedaddled out of the state ASAP. It was the same summer she sent a note, asking us to pick her up on Thursday at sundown by the back gate. We never did and she survived and enjoyed her summer. I have owned my Jackie O’s since then and they have only traveled with me in times of needed camouflage.
She won’t be sending us a note with these instructions this year. We will be lucky if she sends us a note at all. I suspect by Thursday, she will have met people she will know for the rest of her life and will have realized just how perfect her choice for college has been. She may get homesick or not. She may get sad, or not. What she will be is energized by all that is new, interesting, fun and challenging. The world is hers and the sky is the limit. This sculpture stands on the grounds of Carnegie Mellon with great distinction. There is no limit to where these students can go.
We had a quick dinner, walked for a bit in her new city. We drove her back to the residence, gave our parting hugs. There were no more lessons to share or learn. She had already soaked up all she could from caring and attentive parents. She picked up her bag, walked away with the confidence and strength,she has had since she was born. No need to look back…just forward