Spring is usually the season we associate with new beginnings and fresh starts. As the plants and trees come back to life after lying dormant during the long winter months our hearts fill with hope. We look forward to the season of graduations, confirmations, and weddings, the ceremonies and celebrations that represent new beginnings and change.
I hadn’t thought about it until this year, but in many ways fall is really the season of fresh starts and new experiences. Fall marks the passage of children from necessary nap-times to kindergarten kids. Every new grade marks a milestone for students and the parents who shake their heads and wonder where the time went.
This year, fall brought about one of the most significant changes in my life since the birth of my first child.
On Wednesday August 21st Christian packed up the remaining travel necessities like snacks, Cd’s, and our not so trusty GPS.
He somehow managed to squeeze the last few items into the back seat on top of an assortment of suitcases, duffle bags, and boxes which were piled as high as possible without blocking the rear-view mirror.
Christian and his girlfriend exchanged one of the longest pre-sunrise goodbye hugs in the history of young love. The sky was clear and dry, but our eyes were not.
We started our 17 hour journey with a stop at Wawa for a not-so-nutritious breakfast and a giant cup of coffee.
The last time we packed up the car to drive 1/2 way across the country was five years ago, the fall we moved from Omaha to Yardley. It’s almost impossible to comprehend the number of changes that have taken place since we moved. Among the many changes, is the fact that Christian is no longer a boy; he’s grown into a mature and wonderful young man.
It seems like yesterday he was making a goofy face at me on the drive to Pennsylvania.
And it literally was almost yesterday that he helped me tackle a thousand mile drive.
We abandoned our outdated GPS in favor of Siri fairly early in the trip. Our not so trusty GPS kept losing the signal and recalculating routes because it lost our location. Christian’s foot was more than a bit heavy, so it’s a good thing I was driving when we pulled into this rest stop or he might have started his college career with a speeding ticket.
I didn’t know until this trip, just how many goofy faces my son could make.
Thank goodness he’s also willing to smile and show me his handsome face.
It also turns out he’s a great multi-tasker. He can switch CD’s, text with his girlfriend and at least 5 other people while having a conversation with his mom. I seriously thought his phone was going to explode.
Our stop at “Steak n’ Shake” meant free wi fi.
Another goofy face while pondering the menu selection.
More texting (not sure what has happened to our technology free meal rule).
And a giant Cookies and Cream shake topped with a mountain of whipped cream.
We arrived at Kay and John’s at 11:02 pm, just like Siri said we would. After seventeen hours in a car it was wonderful to get a hug from family friends and have a glass of wine before falling into a comfortable bed.
We followed Jeff through the maze of morning traffic and I somehow managed to keep up with my oldest son’s lane changes. Orientation leaders directed us through the parking lot and provided instructions for the drop off.
It’s incredibly well organized, the kids on the orientation team load each student’s belongings into a large bin on wheels and before you walk back from the parking garage it’s in the dorm room ready to be unpacked.
The actual unpacking was a bit discombobulated, but that’s a story for another day. People kept mistaking Jeff for an incoming student and not an alum, which gave us some good laughs.
The next two days were full of orientation sessions. It was all a bit exhausting and overwhelming. For the first time ever, I secretly kept tissues in my purse because tears kept creeping out at the most unexpected times.
Saturday was the final day of orientation and after lunch it was time to say goodbye for now. I snagged one of the orientation leaders and cajoled Christian into one more picture.
Now begins my journey as an empty-nester and another season of change.