Beginnings… Again.

I’m inconsolable.

I’m heartbroken.

I’m depressed.

I’m the mom of a college sophomore.

Being the mom of a sophomore is harder for me than being a freshman mom, I think. As a freshman you secretly hope they’ll hate college and come home needing you desperately after realizing they couldn’t get through a week without you solving some problem. OK… only me? Yeah, I suspected as much. Thanks for the validation that I’m the worst mom ever. I mean, I guess I didn’t want that – but I would have been alright if it had happened. Wasn’t it enough that she was accepted to the University of her dreams? Did she actually have to GO?

I mean – we raised her to be smart, independent and ready to conquer the world. So why was I so disappointed when she did just that? Rather than cuddled up with me watching Pride and Prejudice, she’s the President of the National Honor Society, Social Secretary of her Sorority AND she made all A’s.  She only finds time to Skype once a week (if that) and she’s happy and well adjusted.

What the WHAT?!

We’ve just dropped her off at Trinity University (well, to be fair, followed her, were allowed to unload a bookshelf and then summarily dismissed… but I digress) and this time everything seemed just fine. No tears, except for her Dad, who had “the moment” before we left. Lord, who am I kidding? The man hasn’t stopped crying. I was thinking it felt somewhat familiar and wasn’t all that terrible. She’d been ready to go back for a few days and we weren’t all warm and fuzzy, truth be told. She was being a pain, actually. So, when we got there, we did the hug thing, and the photo thing, and I fussed over the things I fussed over last year – 10 minutes, tops. The car ride home was a breeze. I was pretty much thinking I was skating by this year without a meltdown.

Until I got home and started to unload the stuff she’d sent back with us, after emptying and sorting the storage unit she rented at the end of last year and dividing it into “move back into new Prassell Dorm Room” and “Send home with Mom & Dad.” She kept a lot of sorority things, decor things and I-have-no-clue-what-they-are-things… and sent back books with us.

Lots and lots of books, in fact. Well-loved, well-read classics from her childhood. Books my Daddy gave her before he died. Her entire hardbound collection of Harry Potter. Pride and Prejudice. Dog-eared copies of Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein. The Odyssey. I’m digging through and thinking that we’ve made a mistake and grabbed the wrong things. But, no, she’s loaded them into the truck herself. I’m shocked. She’s sent back her Audrey Hepburn Autobiography, for pete’s sake. All the books that make her who she was before she left as a Freshman. She couldn’t leave without them last year. Wouldn’t thin them out when she saw her overwhelmed roommate. They were her friends, confidants, inspiration and solace when her world capsized a couple of times.

It hits me – hard – that they aren’t her security blanket as they were last year. They are now back in her room at home and she has a new shelf of books she loves – in her dorm. The ones she sent back with us aren’t the things completely define her now as they once did. She’s different. Richer, deeper and more experienced. New books pique her interest. New people covet her time.

She’s not coming home. She didn’t hate it. She doesn’t need me the same way she once did. She’s more than OK.

She’s a Sophomore.

She’s staying there and she’s sent home her books.