Please Go Back To School

Three weeks from today, we will drop off our youngest child at college for his freshman year. We will come home to an empty house. Many people ask me how I’m handling it. I think they’re surprised and sometimes confused when I give them an answer that reveals my mixed emotions.

Sure, we’ll miss him and his sister when they go back. But perhaps a recounting of the last hour of my life will reveal why I’m anxious to have them on their way.

The younger one, the boy, announced that he was taking off to get Jack so that they could go get “supplies” for their weekend at Lollapalooza.

“Supplies?” I asked. “Like poster board and markers to make your “Free Bird” signs to hold up while the bands play?” I joked. I don’t want to know the answer to that question. At some point late tonight or early tomorrow he’ll come home and be ready to go for three days of peace and music with the 100,000 other Lollapaloozers. He’s a good kid, but he’s 18 and looking for more freedom than living with us will offer. I don’t blame him.



The 20-yr old, with an uninformed sense of her own security, is on her way to meet a friend whose sister lives on Armitage in Lincoln Park. She’s going to take the L. As I’m taking her to the Linden St. Station, it becomes clear that she’s not, as I was told, spending the weekend there and using it as a Lolla Base Camp, because she has no gear with her. No, she’s coming home tonight.

Let me give you the same minute to process that information that I took: She’s coming home tonight, by herself, on the L, transferring at Howard.

Not as long as I’m involved she’s not transferring at Howard at midnight by herself.

“Get in a cab, please. I’ll pay for it.”

It was easier when they were nine.

I’m as anxious for them to be on their way to live their lives and enjoy their freedom away from home as they are.

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