I am about to say goodbye to the last great love in my life. The gas tank is full and the car packed to the roof with the precious things that are so uniquely Jordan Williams.
And I’m weepy.
My baby is heading off to college, and I’m just not ready. Forget that I have actually been preparing for this for the last 18 years.
I’m not ready for my pumpkin to go so far away to Nashville, Tenn. As far as I’m concerned, he might as well be going to the other side of the universe. I know he’ll be just a phone call away, a text away, an email away.
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But Jordan hardly ever even answers his phone when I call from upstairs in my bedroom. When he does, his conversation consists of “ah huh” and “yup.” And what about the hugs? He gives great hugs. I steal one at least once a day.
I look in his face now and it’s full of light. He is so excited to start this new chapter.
“College, Mom. This is everything I’ve worked my whole life for and I’m ready,” he said while emptying a jar full of money he’d saved playing his viola at the River Market this summer.
Even though dollars and not coins poured out, I saw pennies and he was 5 years old, cracking open his piggy bank, excited to buy his own crayons for his first day of kindergarten.
His whole life flashed in front of me:
Jordan at 3, insisting he was big enough to carry a gallon jug of milk, then dropping it and giggling when it burst open and splashed all over the kitchen floor.
Jordan at 7, alone onstage in front of the entire William Southern Elementary School, fearlessly playing an accordion larger than he was.
I saw him in a suit and tie at his many orchestra concerts, act in his first of three school plays, study speeches for debate until the wee hours of the night, asleep on the couch with a book in his hand.
I watched him devour a box of Oreo cookies in one sitting, nervously park the car for the first time, stroll across the stage to get honors, pick up his date for prom and toss his hat at graduation.
I’ve said goodbye to a love before: to my husband of 20 years when he passed away unexpectedly in 2010. That broke my heart.
To my oldest son, when he moved to New York City to make his own way in the world. That made me proud.
This time I am terribly sad. I know it was me who encouraged him to apply to college all over the country. I could have rooted for a school close by. But I wanted him to shoot for the moon. Follow your dreams wherever they take you, I told him. I thought I’d be ready to let go when the time came.
But he’s the last of the best things God gave me. We bonded while his brother was in college. We became tight buddies.
Now he’s truly all grown up. My nest is empty, and I’m going to miss him.