It took only a few minutes to carry Shaggy Hair Boy’s stuff into his dorm room. He packed last night by shoving his clothes into a couple of laundry baskets without even removing the hangers so it was easy to just hang everything in his closet. Then I made his bed while he piled office supplies onto his desk. His roommate, whom he’d been texting, was at band practice so we didn’t have a chance to meet him.
“It’s probably better that we aren’t here when he meets his roommate for the first time,” said my daughter. “That way, Kid From Southern State can avoid the awkward conversation you have when you meet someone’s parent.” She was probably right. Besides, meeting all of us can be kind of overwhelming. Better to introduce the kid to us slowly.
We walked across campus to find Skater Boy and see his dorm room, which looked pretty much like any other dorm room. Except he did have some cool posters on the wall. And a nice view of the cemetery. Then we left Shaggy Hair Boy and Skater Boy to wander around Snowstorm University together. Saying goodbye to them seemed kind of anti-climatic: they’re living about 12 miles from our home. Boy in Black didn’t need to say goodbye at all: he’ll see Shaggy Hair Boy at Ultimate practice since they’re both on the Snowstorm University team.
Once we got back to the house, we piled my daughter’s stuff into the car: we’d moved most of her stuff ten days ago, but she had a few more things to bring: a painting my father was lending her, a book shelf she’d put together last night, some office supplies we’d bought. She and I talked as we drove and listened to music, and the 150 miles went by fast.
Since Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter won’t have a car while she’s living in Bison City, we went to the grocery store before I made the drive home. We’re both so used to buying massive amounts of food for the household that it seemed very strange to buy food for just one person. We had to keep putting stuff back. But we tried to buy her a semester’s worth of anything that wouldn’t spoil.
We talked while we were shopping, and it seemed like we kept getting in the way of people who were trying to move up and down the aisles – we are both kind of oblivious when we’re talking. Then at the cash register, we somehow managed to break the credit card machine, which totally flustered the kid who was ringing us up.
I thought it would feel strange to drive home alone, but it was actually fine. I kept thinking about Shaggy Hair Boy, starting his first year of college, and my daughter, just starting grad school, and I felt too excited for them to feel very sad about them moving out. I arrived home just as my husband and With-a-Why were getting home; they’d decided to get pizza and watch a movie together for a little father-son bonding. Boy in Black and First Extra haven’t yet moved into their campus apartment, so they are both here, playing cards. And Blue-eyed Ultimate Player – whom we all love -- has returned, back for his junior year at Snowstorm University. Philosophical Boy, who is still in high school, arrived a few minutes ago to make a fourth for cards.
I’m listening to their chatter – mostly about Ultimate and music – while they play, jumping into the conversation whenever I can.
“You writing a blog post?” Blue-eyed Ultimate Player just asked me. “Make it funny.”
“I’m too tired to be funny,” I told him. “I just drove 150 miles.”
I explained to him that I’m not naturally funny: I have to work at it. To prove it, I looked over at Boy in Black and First Extra. “How many times have I said something funny? I mean, in real life?”
They both answered at the same time. “Twice.”
I went back to typing stuff on my computer, checking on facebook to see updates from my daughter and my niece. Then Boy in Black called Shaggy Hair Boy, putting him on speaker phone so we could all listen to him.
So far I’m handling this whole empty nest thing just fine.