We attended Eustacia's college orientation this weekend, so there is clearly no point in pretending she will not be moving out of the house in August. Here I was going day by day in complete oblivion, making meals and doing laundry and having daily conversations with the girl as if she had not grown up and were not about to leave the nest I spent years making for her. And now I have been yanked back into reality.
To make matters worse, yesterday afternoon we pushed a cart around Target and filled it with things like blankets and sheets, a lamp, some towels, and a pillow. This week, we may investigate buying a bike for riding around campus and the surrounding town. The campus is of such a manageable size, though, with no more than a ten-minute walk from point to point, Eustacia may decide a bike will be more trouble than it's worth.
She has chosen Baldwin-Wallace College in northern Ohio. It's a small liberal arts college in a suburb of Cleveland with small houses scattered around campus so it's like going to school in a neighborhood. The school mascot is a yellow jacket, not ever to be confused with a bumble bee. They are both stinging insects that cause fear, but the names conjure up different images. You wouldn't be very intimidated by a team with the word "bumble" on their jerseys.
The administration held a session on making good choices, which means making good choices about alcohol. We watched a film about the dangers of high-risk drinking, which is four to five drinks in a sitting. On average 47% of US college students consider themselves high-risk drinkers, although I have to wonder how honest students are when approached with such a survey. Some are likely to exaggerate their drinking for the sake of being smart asses, and some are likely to deny their drinking because they're afraid they'll get into trouble. Eustacia's college believes their high-risk drinkers make up only 30% of the campus population. Eustacia, who is not a drinker of any sort, intends to align herself with the other 70%.
So, now it's clear I'll have to face the exit of my youngest child. Growing up is inevitable, I know, but when your kids are little, and you're sitting at the table with Play Dough and Legos, and when you're packing lunches and reading picture books and arranging sleep overs, you don't stop to think about how some day it will all completely change. Someday you'll be sitting at the table without children, and you'll have to find something other than making clay snakes and mixing a batch of mac & cheese to keep yourself busy.