The day finally arrived for Kimmi and she is now moved in at AU and ready for her first year of college! She had her car loaded up and ready to go and after running some last-minute errands in the morning we headed to Anderson in the early afternoon. Driving over, I kept glancing in the side rear-view mirror to see her following behind. The words in the mirror were a strange comfort: “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” John wondered aloud if Kimmi had butterflies. “I do,” I replied as he chuckled.
We arrived at Rice Hall, where I lived my sophomore year and John lived for four years. A friendly student started to lead us upstairs to her room and as we rounded the 2nd floor set of stairs we were greeted by a bunch of smiling, colorful, upper-class art students (the dreadlocks kind of gave it away). They guessed Kimmi’s name until they got it right, then told her they were ready to help her move in! The moment they began their enthusiastic welcome to a much-delighted Kimmi, I could almost feel John and I becoming invisible and fading farther back in the stairwell. This is what’s supposed to happen, though. College life and new adventures are taking the forefront as the parents move more into the background, now filling the praying, promise-to-give-you-space, there-if-you-need-us role. Kimmi’s new friends followed us to her car and before we knew it – all her belongings were in her room. What a great idea! We didn’t have that system in place when I moved in 21 years ago. (Wow – that makes me sound really old).
Everyone we ran into was so friendly and helpful. It was a great experience. The RA and her roommate came by Kimmi’s room in time to help us “loft” the beds. They’d done it many times already, they said, and showed us what to do. We were glad because we had no idea how to get it done in that cozy space! Her roommate showed up and after much hugging, jumping, and squealing, the increasingly invisible mom said, “You must be Courtney”.
There really wasn’t much for us to do after that so we told Kimmi we’d go ahead and leave. She came downstairs and outside with us to hug us goodbye. I took a picture of her with her dad, then he took one of her with me. I was doing fine until he asked,”Do you want me to take another one? You’re not smiling very big.” “I’m doing the best I can,” I said and started to cry. Oh bother. I had decided not to cry and just be happy for Kimmi. I WAS happy for her! I’m just going to miss her. As we drove home I told John it’s just the realization that nothing lasts forever and Kimmi’s childhood is behind her. She’s entering adulthood and turning a new page.
No going back, only forward. How could we be sad, though, when she’s so eagerly and gladly heading into it all?
John told me walking through the dorm brought back so many memories of how great college was. Big-time deja vu. The years at AU were some of the best for each of us. “I envy her,” he said. So do I.