Monday, September 1, 2008

The delivery

Just as it was in giving birth to my daughter, the transition was hard but the delivery was easy when Other and I dropped C off at Skidless yesterday. All day (all summer, truth be told) we had steeled ourselves for the traumatic parting, and then—nothing. We hugged goodbye, and she and her new friend EM walked off together to dinner, as Other and I headed for our car. Bewilderingly uneventful. But a little sad, because unlike childbirth, delivering your child to college means you go home with empty arms. Fortunately for us, we had our own dinner plans—at the country house of longtime friends who had just dropped their two daughters off at school. So we were in sympathetic company. We stayed up till midnight talking kid. Hope I got it out of my system. I'm looking forward to having space in my brain now for some new thoughts that have nothing to do with parenting.

This fancy liberal arts college C's going to is a little like a gated community. It's cut off from the town by sprawling lawns and grand landscaping and an invisible shield of security cards and codes. Like a fairy-tale princess raised by peasants, she alone has keys to the ivory tower she now inhabits. We low-born parents can enter only at her indulgence. Indeed, if we were found wandering the campus unattended, we would be evicted by one of the 70 guards installed to deal with riffraff like us. She is fed, fostered, mentored and given as her magic wand an i.d. card with which she can fulfill every whim (or at least every whim chargeable at the college store). We are left behind in the dust of the great juggernaut that is bearing her onward to the glory of her intellectual flowering. Goodbye, sweetheart. Think of us sometimes. Try not to look down on your rude beginnings ...

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