John and I took our baby to college today. It was hard.
I cried - A LOT - when we dropped Jim at school 2 years ago and 4+ hours from home, but Wartburg provided closure for parents. We gathered for a worship service in the chapel (Wartburg is a Lutheran school), then everyone walked into the courtyard and the parents were told to say their goodbyes and leave. Jim went off with his freshman orientation group and that was that. We left him with a group of people. There was closure.
While Millikin is only an hour away and has a weeks worth of freshmen orientation activities, there was no set closure today for students or parents. We had to leave her in her dorm room, all alone. Her roommate was due back from soccer practice soon and the floor meeting was in an hour, but there was no group freshman hug goodbye. When John and I walked to the car, I saw a boy basically holding his mother up as he walked his parents to their car - but that didn't make me feel any better about leaving Hannah.
I know she will be OK. I reminded her - and myself - that she didn't like being a 4-H camp counselor at the beginning of the summer. She had a hard time connecting with people and the days were very long. By the time she left camp after her last week, she was crying that she would miss everyone terribly (and when we returned home today, we found that she received a letter from one of her fellow counselors). I am sure that's the way it will be with college too. That doesn't make these first two weeks any easier for her though, and that's what kills me. But I know there is growth in this. I know she will be a better, more mature adult from this. I know in my heart that this is her time to shine. We all just have to be patient and wait for it to happen.
I love you, Little Bits.