Monday, July 07, 2014

Getting to the new normal

A good friend is dropping off her oldest child at college today. I saw Kim at church yesterday but I didn’t get a chance to talk to her. I was able to wave from a distance, and my heart just sank when she waved back as I remembered all the mixed emotions I felt the day before we dropped off Michael for the first time. Well, they weren’t terribly mixed – they were all pretty awful! And because we’re pretty similar, I figured she was feeling the same.

The first college drop-off was not so fun. It is not a day I’d choose to relive, even if I had Dumbledore’s Pensieve, the magical bowl full of memories (halfway through book 6!). No, I can think of a zillion other days I’d relieve before we went back to that one.
But there are a ton of days that came after that one that I’d gladly revisit. Like his first visit home, or our first visit there. Or the time he brought his new college friends home for dinner. Or his first Christmas break. Or the first last day when we moved him home after his freshman year. We’d never had those days without the miserable first drop-off day.

You just have to get through the drop-off day. And then the next day. And the next one. And before you know it, you’re living your new normal and it is normal. And good.

I’m writing this as much for Kim as I am for me. Because I am absolutely dreading my second first college drop-off. Amy goes the day before her birthday which does not seem right at all. But that drop-off is what leads us to our next new normal. For a while, those of us left at home will feel uneasy, unsteady, off-kilter. But we will adjust and will learn another new normal. And eventually it will not only feel normal, but be normal. And good.

Kim, I feel for you today. Today absolutely stinks. I’m not going to lie: tomorrow’s not going to feel a whole lot better. But it will get better. And your new normal will actually feel normal. And good. I promise.

I would be ever so grateful if someone would remind me of this on August 21.

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