With This Goodbye

“Mom, SERIOUSLY? Why are you crying?”

My son was shocked to see my tears as I pulled into the airport departure lane, dropping him off for his flight back to college for second semester.

But instead of bolting for the curb to avoid the awkward moment, he set his duffle bag down and opened his arms wide. “Come here,” he chuckled softly.

THIS is why I’m crying,” I sobbed, as he smothered me in his giant man-embrace.

“You’ve grown up so much in the past few months, and I’m proud of the man you’re becoming and it makes me miss you in a whole new way,” I said.

“Mmmmm K,” he replied with a goofy face, reverting back to the boy I knew.

“Keep making good choices, please,” I reminded him anxiously as my mind swirled with some of the crazy stories he’d shared during Christmas break that painted a much-too-vivid picture of the actual reality of his life at college.

This goodbye was different from the one in August, when we dropped him off at college for a brand-new chapter of his life and ours. That was a monumental goodbye—a milestone moment signifying the end of an era—full of hopes, dreams, and the anticipation of the unknown.

The second semester departure contained the anticipation of the “known”—a recognition of his new reality and the good and bad that came with it.

With this goodbye I knew he was going back to a dorm room infested with bed bugs.  His color-coordinated, super-cozy down comforter and bedding that I’d tucked around his bunk in August as my last-ditch attempt to nest for my child had been quarantined since finals, leaving him with a flimsy vinyl mattress and “temporary bedding” which consisted only of ratty sheets. His rug and futon were also gone, all in the hopes he stay in his dorm room without waking up covered in the bed bug welts he’d been enduring since mid-October.

Kami Gilmour
Kami Gilmour
Written by Kami Gilmour, mom of 5 teen and young adult kids. She’s the author of a new book that chronicles her imperfect journey of parenting in this season with a refreshing sense of honesty, humor, and practical insights:  Release My Grip: Hope for a Parent’s Heart as Kids Leave the Nest and Learn to Fly. Kami is also the co-creator of SoulFeed college care packages, the faith-based care package that feeds college students what matters most, and co-host at They Say Podcast where overshares her crazy (sometimes inappropriate) stories.

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