Over the past few days, I’ve watched the college move-in/let-go process through a slightly different lens.  

Normally I’m the guy trying to be empathetic as parents bring their kids to us.  I know the kids are in good hands, and I don’t always understand the emotions attached to letting go (on both the part of the parents and the kid!)  Heck, when I went to college, I was ready and just wanted the family to move on so I could get settled.  But that’s me.

I try to remember what I felt the one August a decade ago when AJ moved back into the dorm after spending the last few weeks of summer with me.  I was lost for a bit — and the remembrance of that emotion is helpful to me now.

In the last hour of Thursday, my sister Beth, along with husband Robert and my niece Anna, arrived at my house. We all slept a short night, each of us fitfully for different reasons.  Robert is having trouble sleeping.  Beth was kept awake by Robert.  Anna, on the sofa in the living room, was moving into college the next day.  And I was awakened any time any of the other three stirred in the house.  

After an early breakfast at McDonald’s, we parted ways.  A few minutes later, Anna and her parents were at UMSL to begin Anna’s college days.

Seeing and hearing tales of their college-now emotions, but from a relative’s angle, is awfully different than perceiving their emotions, standing in front of a group of students and parents, as I did yesterday.  Anna’s saga humanized and even authorized their emotions a bit more, at least for me.  

So Anna is off on an awfully big adventure.

And after meeting our own new students yesterday, today I meet our new musical theatre students.  Tomorrow I see my own students for the first time this school year as we prep for auditions.

And I know that all of these students — my own, our own, and my niece at UMSL — are in good hands!


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