One week ago today we left home to take the Magpie to her penultimate semester at college (no telling if next year we'll be taking her to grad school, but I seriously doubt it). This was an easy trip, as her campus is a little over an hour away, and easy also because by this time, she knows what to bring, what NOT to bring, and how to pack it. We moved in, helped her get partly set up, went out for lunch and to pick up a few more items, and that was it. The tough part was the fact that we just got her back after her year abroad, but at least we got to spend a couple weeks with her before she left again.
Thursday was the Catbird's turn. The Catbird is going to college about 4-1/2, 5 hours away, in a whole other state! We had to board the dog for the night (never a fun thing) and leave at 7 a.m. to get to campus at the appointed move-in time of between noon and 3 (the Catbird's college decided to stagger the arrival time, presumably to ease congestion around the dorms. I'm not sure I would follow that rule again, knowing what I now know, which is nothing bad. Just that, with orientation activities for students beginning somewhere in late afternoon, the kids arriving in the morning had more time to put things to rights and maybe relax a little.).
The Catbird's school had 2 days of "activities" aimed at parents, so we stayed overnight, which we might have anyway, because who wants to do 10 hours of driving in a single day? In hindsight, the 2-day "orientation" for parents really wasn't all that necessary. We ended up missing the one session that might have actually been useful because we were dealing with a problem with our motel, which amounted to this:
Apparently, every school in town decided to have move-in day at approximately the same time, and the motel ran out of rooms. I'm promised a reimbursement check for the room they ultimately found me in another hotel elsewhere, and I'm hoping I don't end up having to go through a big runaround on this. We'll see.
At any rate, despite some concerns over what and how the Catbird was packing, things went smoothly there as well. As we waited at a traffic light to turn into the campus, we were greeted by a small cadre of students on the sidewalk, jumping up and down, cheering the incoming students and calling out things like, "Welcome home." The freshman class is ~500 students; there were at least 100 upperclassmen on hand to help move in (they were on our car like ants on a cracker), to lead new students to and in orientation activities, and to help everyone feel welcome. It was a great way to start.
For my own part, the emotions I expected to cause problems were pretty under control. This is one of the benefits to being busy, I suppose: it's hard to dwell on the changes in life that are coming if you're running around doing a bunch of things. The kids were kept busy, too, with meetings and trips and group activities. Last night we had our first 3-way Skype session, which was an oddity to say the least, but both my girls look happy, and that's the best I can hope for.