"We've done this before." That's been said a lot recently, in relation to Chloe leaving for college. She'll be only a few hours away so it will be nothing like waving goodbye to a barely-16-year-old who is going half-way around the world to live for a year with strangers who speak a language she doesn't know. She doesn't understand, and I haven't mentioned yet, that it's not her that I'm worried about when she leaves for college. For her, it's an exciting beginning. For us, it's an end to the biggest part of our lives so far. I can't help but think about people who complain about their parents, who roll their eyes and worry about what to do when their parents come to visit, who can't wait until they leave. Will our kids ever say to their friends, "Oh, crap! My parents are coming next week."?
We think about one of Chloe's friends who will be going to the opposite coast to school, a friend who has never been away from the home she loves, and how hard it's going to be for her and her family to say goodbye. And then we sigh with relief that we won't be going through that again. Chloe's departure for Spain is a touchstone that we revisit to assure ourselves that it won't ever be that hard again.
I'm excited for Chloe to live in a dorm and begin college. She'll be just a few minutes away from her brother. Her dorm room, the one she wanted, is close to the amazing new recreation center that has more equipment than she'll know what to do with ("She said the elliptical machines have DVD players!"). We went to orientation yesterday and, through a series of fortunate events, the door to her dorm room was open. She even stretched out on what will be her bed until I reminded her that she didn't know where those tousled sheets had been, although that might have been an image that would have been better left unpainted.
But my excitement for the next part of Chloe's life doesn't prevent me from getting teary-eyed thinking about driving home alone from her school in about six weeks. Even so, that beats the hell out of what we went through last time.