Monday, February 20, 2017

4th Grade Going on College

Because of complicated schedules, Tom and I have to, on occasion, come up with new and creative ways to handle afternoon and evening soccer practices and dance lessons. We decided that when I have commitments other than the kids (this semester I have had a number of meetings with start times between 5pm and 7pm) I would drop Will off at Tom's office on my way. Both Will and Tom liked the idea of Will getting to hang out on campus for a little while before heading to the soccer fields, and me bringing Will to Tom slightly ahead of rush hour - rather than Tom coming to get Will right in the middle of rush hour - made sense both time- and stress-wise.

The blip in this plan is that Tom teaches until 5:10pm, and on some days, I need to drop Will off no later than 5pm. That means Will arrives 10-15 minutes before he can connect with Tom and spends that time hanging out in the commons area of a college building, with only college kids.

We tried it for the first time on a day I didn't have to be anywhere until 6pm. I parked the car and walked Will inside, and then we sat in the lobby and waited for Tom to finish his class. (We can't wait in Tom's office because we'd need both a swipe card and a key to get in.) But on the second day, Will assured me he could go in alone - he knew exactly where to sit, how to behave, who to talk to (and/or not talk to), and when to expect his dad.

And so I let him go.

I dropped my 10-year-old off at college.

I rolled down the passenger side window and yelled "I LOVE YOU", a little louder and more emphatically than necessary. Without breaking stride, Will looked back over his shoulder and with a barely detectable smile on his face, answered, "I love you too. And I'll be fine."

How is it possible for hearts to swell and break at the same time?

Ok, ok...I realize Will isn't heading off to college yet. (He may be bright, but he's no Doogie Howser.) But watching him climb out of the car, grab his belongings, and disappear through the massive double doors provided me with an all-too-real glimpse into our future.

I can only imagine how much harder it will be the day I drop him off at college and he doesn't come back home for dinner three hours later.

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