The day you send your child off to college is a nerve wrecking day. For both parties. This is my third year now, as my daughter begins her junior year, that we run this day. In her freshman year, I took her to school with Josh. In her sophomore year, she travelled to school on her own via Amtrak. For her junior year, she rode in a car with her boyfriend and his family. Each year brought its own challenges for me, and how I dealt with her leaving for another school year. That first year, I documented my nerves right here in this blog. In the second year, I pushed a lot of my worries aside, knowing how much she loved school. This year however, is a different ball of worry.
This is the year of a pandemic.
This is the year that my friends won’t have me over for dinner. This is the year that I walk the streets with a mask on. This is the year That businesses are shuttering, that I can not get a job, that I do not walk ten thousand steps a day. This is the year that is heavy with burden and death.
And so, sending my daughter to live in another city, with a lifestyle that is inherently social and gleeful is fraught with self doubt. On the day she was leaving, in the midst of an argument brought on by a trigger, she cried at me, “I’m sick of everyone being so negative about my decision.”
I had to check myself. Here she was, all of nineteen, a life of everything ahead of her, and all she wanted was a modicum if support. Yes she was aware there is a pandemic. Yes she was aware of what lurked. Yes she was aware aware aware. But. This was hers. Her moment. And while there is a pandemic, and there will undoubtedly be kids who arrive positive and will be quarantined, and oh yes, another wave, what she needed from me was support and not a doomsday litany.
For the kids returning to college and deciding to do so in person, this is a decision they did not make lightly. They do not need to hear why their decision is wreckless. Not only have they been cooped up at home with their parents for almost six months, they have not been able have a spring and a summer that includes partying and going to the movies and being in bodies of water with their lifelines—their friends.
And so, I am checked. I am staying in my lane as her parent, filled with support and love and FaceTiming her everyday, enjoying her view from the room she was placed in and watching her live her junior life from afar and in a pandemic and hoping she finds some light in all of this muck. Love, love is what is needed, everywhere, and love is what I have to offer.