The First One Leaves the Nest

I dropped my first born off at the University of Oregon last Sunday. Quack! Quack! My son is a duck. I looked high and low in the bookstore for a “Mama Duck” bumpersticker but the closest I could find was “Oregon Mom”. That just doesn’t have the same ring to it, but I bought it anyway.
This milestone event proved to be more difficult for me than anticipated. We moved him into his dorm room and hung out with him on campus up until just before he had to attend his new-student orientation session. After we said our goodbyes, as we were walking away, I began to well up. And I cried for about fifty miles on the drive home. What’s most interesting to me is just a few hours before I had a scowl on my face and was thinking, “my god, I can’t wait until this kid is in college and not hanging around insulting me!” We had had one of our mother/son tifts and I was actually anxious for him to be off on his own, (Humpf! He’ll have a whole new appreciation for me after he’s been on his own awhile!) But as we were driving away all I could think of was him as a little boy. His life passed before my eyes, (it’s true, they really do grow up fast) and I kept wondering if I was a good enough mom. Did I do a good enough job? Did I damage him too much? And why is it the parenting moments you’d rather forget are the ones that loom largest and most vivid in memory? All week I’ve felt a bit bruised.
In all honesty, I am proud of him and excited for him. College, for me, was a wonderful experience and that’s my wish for him as well. I hope he has fun, makes friends, learns a lot. I’ve been anticipating this event for quite some time now, sometimes with glee, sometimes with dread. In my heart I know it’s time, but that doesn’t make it any easier.