The news from Blacksburg, Virginia, has been on my mind ever since I heard about it yesterday. The students, their families, their friends, the staff. Terrible, just terrible. My heart goes out to them all.
It’s not the sort of thing you want to dwell on when packing up your fella for a class trip. Last night, David and I sat down with a packing list and a Sharpie, ready to label everything for his first class trip away from school: three days of “learning experiences” at a state park a couple of hours away. I tried to focus on the considerable number of garments he was told to bring. Why so many pants? What are they going to be doing? It’s safe to say that he could mount an assault on Mount Everest with the gear he’s taking.
Once we got in the mood, we were labeling everything–socks, shirts, individual Band Aids, his toothbrush–and it was fun to see him scurry around the house digging up the Required Flashlight With New Batteries and the Optional Deck of Cards. We rolled up the Required Sleeping Bag. When he went to find the Required Fourth Pair of Shorts, I got all weepy as I looked at his pile of stuff. His stuff! His poignant, 11-year-old pile of stuff!
I hadn’t really thought about it, but as I sat staring at all those well-labeled socks, I realized that he’s never been away from home for two nights in a row. Can you believe that? It’s not like we’ve locked him up; it’s just that he’s not all that old. I’ve spent quite a few days away from him, but in my mind, he’s always right here at home. Two nights? What are we going to do?
I keep thinking about the day he will head off to college, and how great that will be, and how excited he’ll be, and I wonder how I will ever manage to let him go.