|Two views of my son's dorm at Middlebury College.|
"Don't run over the photographer."
My son turned to me and grinned. "Don't be so sentimental."
I laughed with him, fighting back tears. It was a long journey, and I don't mean the five hour drive from Maine to Vermont.
|Middlebury Town in Vermont|
President Liebowitz had advice for us parents: "Your job is done. They're adults. Don't worry; we'll look after them." He celebrated Middlebury's achievements and shared a story about a sobbing parent. He told us "to suck it up." We laughed because it beat crying. It was time to let go.
I said goodbye to my son by cell phone. He was rushing off to take a placement exam. I had never felt so alone, not since my mid 20s. My husband was in Maine, meeting with his freshman advisees at Bowdoin College. Our 16-year-old daughter had already left for a semester school on a coastal farm. For one semester, we will be empty nesters. It's not all bad; I can write and paint without interruption. For years I've been looking forward to this gift of free time. But still.
|Look, Beth, Small Damages.|
Now I'm back at work, writing a new young adult novel and painting a couple of commissions. Classes have started at Bowdoin too. For the first time, my husband's students are the same age as our child. The dog roams the house, sniffing around suspiciously tidy rooms. Our son calls weekly and our daughter emails. They sound happy. We're all adjusting to this new pace of life.