At one point during dorm setup, I hit the on-campus market to grab some water — putting away clothes and rearranging heavy furniture works up a thirst — and I was amused that basics, like bananas, looked like that… Ew. Yet, the store had an entire fancy meat section. You can buy linguica! On a college campus! I really would like a college do-over.
You may recall that at this time last year, it was The Big College Drop-off.
If you need a refresher of that heartbreaker of a post, then feel free to click here. I don’t need to re-read because I lived it.
OK, you back? Ready? So, this go-round the tears weren’t as plentiful or obvious — but they did fall at unexpected times — and it was a different kind of pain, like that kind that goes along with apron strings being snipped with very dull scissors so it’s more like a sad sawing motion than a clean, fast break.
But then, that’s what’s supposed to happen.
I went from Mom! Doo doo doo doooooooo — that was my best imitation of trumpets playing while a superhero stands at attention, hands forcefully planted on hips, cape waving in the breeze — to… a wallet with feet.
I flew out to California with No. 1 and then dutifully followed her around, paying for things. Have you ever in your life spent $202 in a single trip at Trader Joe’s? Well if you have, then you know that the employees are contractually obligated to suck up to you, as they did me, when the guy bagging No. 1’s groceries for the next (hopefully) two-three months lamented that it wasn’t really fair that the big sister got stuck with the food bill.
Nicely played. Thanks for that, dude.
It was cool that I got to meet No. 1’s friends and they’re all fresh-faced and polite and sweet, the kind of near-adults who make eye contact and know how to behave around a parent.
The squad sank into an easy familiarity, jumping right back into the middle of shared jokes where they left off before summer. The roommates swapped stories and laughs and it was so cute, but I also felt like such a third wheel. I mean, again, that is what’s supposed to happen and I’m so glad it did… but it still stings. A little.
It’s hard, when you’re a parent with a kid settled in at college, not to feel extraneous — like an extra pinkie finger. You don’t really bring anything to the party but yet you’re not hurting anything either and so people let you hang around and try not to be creeped out by you.
It’s fine, though. Don’t worry about me. I’ll come to terms with it, just like I did when my very hospitable uterus was no longer needed as an incubator and my boobs were no longer needed as a milk factory and my usefulness as a nighttime storyteller/singer faded into obscurity. I figure I still have plenty of good years ahead of me as a go-to ATM.