College Drop Off in the Time of Covid

It’s not the kind of text you ever want to receive. I’m talking about the angry husband text that’s disguised as the nice husband text. The key words are, “not trying to be difficult . . .”

Oh my, those words are code for, “What were you thinking?”

Worse, the text came with a picture showing a multitude of tiny screws.

Uh oh, I did mess up. It seems the desk, dresser, and headboard I ordered for the bedroom of my daughter’s new college abode had more in common with a jigsaw puzzle than actual furniture.

Ugh. It was going to take hours to put this furniture together and I wasn’t one hundred percent certain that once it was assembled that it would be sturdy enough to withstand a door slamming.

Worse, maybe this was a sign that we made a horrible decision to allow our daughter to go back to college during the COVID terror in California of all places. Maybe all those baby screws represented our hearts breaking?

I was still very conflicted over acquiescing to my youngest child’s pleas to return to school. The university didn’t exactly make it easier. I felt like I was playing a shell game. The first cup was in person school, the second was hybrid and the third was virtual. These cups have never stopped swirling the entire summer. But the fact that virtual could move to hybrid sooner than later was my daughter’s strongest selling point about why she needed to be back at school.

Just getting her (and us) out to California was DefCon 1 anxiety inducing. The worst was being on a plane. I felt like I was writing a love letter to the coronavirus. I tripled masked, wore a shield and clutched a Ziploc bag of Clorox wipes so hard my carpel tunnel’s flared.

Fortunately, the airline was not messing around. It was a mask palooza and a plane full of empty seats. When we got to California it was super locked down. Indoor dining, bars, gyms, nail salons, malls etc. were all still closed. It was also the land of a free drive thru rapid response COVID test on every corner.

As I was pondering getting a test because I always wonder if I’m asymptotic my husband sent me another text, “Why don’t we just buy real furniture? You know the kind that doesn’t come in a million pieces.”

That text was easy to answer because I went for my husband’s Achilles heel – fiscal responsibility. I wrote back, “Well, we’ve already paid for this furniture and you can’t ship it back. Besides “real” furniture would be three times the price.”

That shut down the text conversation. But it didn’t shut down my fears. It’s never easy leaving a child at college but the coronavirus has turbo charged my list of worst-case scenarios. My chest hurt and it wasn’t from COVID-19.

When I returned from Target bearing bags full of bathroom supplies I walked into my child’s college bedroom and saw my husband and daughter diligently working as a team to put her furniture together.

The scene made me smile and eased the ache in my chest. You can’t bubble wrap an emerging adult but you can let them know that you’ll always be there to help them figure out how to build furniture and their lives – no matter the number of pieces.

3 thoughts on “College Drop Off in the Time of Covid

  1. Kathryn Meyer says:

    Okay teared up at this and I didn’t even cry when I dropped the kiddo off. I guess this year more than ever you truly try your best, make the best decision with the information you have, and go. At least they can tell the therapist wasn’t ALL their moms fault they are screwed up 😉

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