My firstborn started college this week and I am cycling through these phases of him being away like a pro.
After sending my son a text as soon as I woke up this morning, I haven't heard back. Rather than busying myself with daily life until he responds, I'm going to do what I do best. What I gold star in.
I'm assuming he's in danger.
I don't play around with this Nervous Parent stuff. It's my style. As a little girl, I would wring my hands over my baby Chihuahua, Pepe, whenever he'd shove the food around in his dish with his nose. I knew just what his actions meant -- that this was the beginning of the end and that he was never going to eat again.
Being on the homefront while the first of your baby birds has left the nest is no simple task for the nervous parent. We're not like the rest of you, and either you'll pick up when I'm puttin' down here, or you'll just send me links to articles from Psychology Today with titles like 50 Ways That Nervous Parents Destroy Their Children. And then you'll sign your email, "I say this because I love you, have you sought professional help?"
I've heard it all. I'm no stranger to the nonsense that worry is. And yet, I've made it into a hobby, a past time, and a mental game of ping pong that bruises my brain into the size of The Great Gazoo.
This is how a day in the life of a nervous parent goes when their son's first day away from home, is today:
6:30 a.m. My eyes popped open. Had to text my son or I couldn't sleep. He needed to save the receipts from the books he was going to buy today. Sent him text.
6:32 a.m. Lie back down. Await quick response back.
7:00 a.m. Unable to fall back asleep. Decide instead to imagine son slipped on water that roommate spilled on floor night before and now son has been lying unconscious since 3 a.m. with roommate snoring and unaware only two feet away.
7:39 a.m. Cursing myself for not telling son he needs to respond to texts with "Yes I'm alive." It's all I need, just a confirmation of being alive.
8:19 a.m. Try to eat a yogurt. Can't. Yogurt triggers panic that son didn't check expiration date on his yogurt so grabbed dairy botulised yogurt while sleep walking and now lying unconscious from food poisoning, only two feet away from roommate.
8:42 a.m. Visualize son walking to breakfast this morning when man in white windowless van pulled up and asked him for directions. When polite son leaned in to answer, man grabbed son's head by the neck and pulled him into said van and sped away. Enhance scene with details of van without license plates, making said perp unable to be identified. Like ever.
9:23 a.m. Sit on hands, thereby disenabling myself from calling campus police to check on son.
10:09 a.m. Thinking perhaps son played early morning game of basketball. When basket made, he disturbed a hornet's nest with over 200 wasps inside. While running away to escape hornets, son tripped on untied shoe lace and is now in student health center, unable to give nurse in attendance my phone number so I can be alerted to son's status.
10:56 a.m. Thinking how it's almost 11 a.m. There is no text back. Reason must be that phone charger burst into flames like that story on FB this morning from China about the smoking phone charger.
11:16 a.m. Thinking son went to find a church, as I had suggested. Church was charming, but a charismatic cult. Now my son is being held until he speaks in tongues. Hoping son speaks in language that says "Call my mother!"
12:04 p.m. Thinking son was followed by a disoriented older woman who mistakenly believes my son is her son. He's my son. I need to drive there and tell woman this important bit of information but first I need to find birth certificate for proof.
12:47 p.m. Thinking son accepted a FB friend request from someone's hijacked account and now he's on his way to meet who he thinks is someone from grade school but is actually this crazed woman who still believes my son is her son.
1:17 p.m. Thinking someone on son's dorm floor brought in left over fireworks from the fourth of July. And they set them off in my son's dorm room.
2:10 p.m. Positive son's phone exploded in his pocket like that post about that kid in California that someone posted on FB this morning.
3:12 p.m. Son must be sleeping. He's been sleeping all day because he has sleeping sickness from a tsetse fly. No matter that this hasn't happened in America since 1966.
4:09 p.m. I call husband at work. Husband doesn't have a chance to talk because I do all the talking. I talk-convince myself that if anything had happened, son's school would have called me. Before hanging up the phone, I thank husband for wise advice.
5:05 p.m. No other explanation other than son must be lost. Due to amnesia from being hysterically blinded from homesickness. Chastise myself for encouraging and enabling strong mother/son bond that he misses me to this degree.
5:48 p.m. Try to eat dinner. Only able to take liquid nourishment. Sigh and accept loss of appetite. Wanted to lose 8-12 lbs anyway.
6:10 p.m. Decide to go for walk to relieve agitation. Halfway into walk, I receive a vision. It is of my son falling out of loft bed due to night time confusion over new surroundings. Race home, heart pounding.
7:15 p.m. Hear husband's phone ding. It's text from son. Son says "busy day. bought books. went for 4 mile run. met with friends and on way to bonfire. having a great time. "
7:17 p.m. I ask husband to text son back, tell him sorry I haven't had a chance to call all day. Glad he's having fun, if I have time, I'll try to squeeze a call in tomorrow.
7:26 p.m. Doing dinner dishes, heart begins to race. Wishing I had discussed importance of bonfire safety before son left for college.
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