We’re camped out in a Best Western in Springfield, Oregon. How unwoodsy.
Tom — Tom is spending the first night at his dorm on the University of Oregon campus a few miles away, and in a couple days we’re driving south and just leaving him here. He told us as we got close to Eugene on the drive up from Berkeley (we left home just before 6 this morning and were up here early in the afternoon) that he was nervous about the experience: living away from home for the first time, taking on all the university stuff, having an unknown roommate in a tiny room. You know: everything.
When we got here, I looked at the rush of activity, the new kids moving into the dorms en masse, all strangers to each other, and I thought — hey, this would be intimidating. While we hauled his stuff up to his room from the van, I was struck by how similar this was to first steps toward separation with Tom and Eamon both: first time leaving them with a babysitter; first time leaving them at childcare; first day of school; first trip away from home without us. At the same moment you want nothing more than to help your kids grow into this world, you think, do I really need to let go? So here we are: First day of college.
How did things play out when we had our feet on the ground? Tom just took charge, setting up his room, talking to his roommate and other guys on his floor. Kate and I went off to run an errand. When we got back, Tom was pretty much settled in. He had plans for the evening — a meeting at the dorm, then who knows. He went his way, and Kate and I went and had pizza and a beer.
More reflection on this later. I got an hour’s sleep before we left home this morning. Time for bed.