The morning you are leaving your home to deliver a child to start college, is never a calm and peaceful endeavor. Whether you are getting into a car for an hour drive, a six-hour drive, or a 20-minute trip to an airport, where you’ll then board a plane – your car is jammed pack full of baggage: both the physical and emotional kind.
The morning of college drop off
Coffee must be guzzled, perhaps a protein bar thrown into a backpack, and a double checking of apps to make sure boarding passes or Google maps are downloaded, and phones are fully charged.
With the unpredictability of both dorm move-in chaos and traffic, we agreed that Bailey, our energetic coonhound, would be much better off spending the very long day and evening with Heather, a true dog-whisperer who had become our friend, and go-to expert on all things canine, since we had adopted our family pet a few years ago.
With all the planning, packing, and crossing off of lists that had been happening for a couple of days before D-Day (Dorm and Dog Drop-off), my husband and I had a bit of a communication breakdown regarding the morning’s events.
I figured my son would want to be with Bailey up until the last-minute, and my husband assumed he had said his goodbye the night before when he went to sleep. So, while I was upstairs getting ready, and my son was still in bed, off went my husband with the dog, unbeknownst to us. A little while later I asked my husband to let Bailey in from the backyard so we could put her on the leash.
“I took her to Heather’s already.”
My stomach dropped, and I turned to see my son come around the corner with wide eyes, and a look of disbelief.
No last hug, pet, belly rub, or gaze into those big, brown eyes.
He said it was OK, but I could see the sadness in his eyes, and I felt like the worst parent in the world.
We offered to stop by Heather’s house so he could say goodbye, but he declined and said we should get on the road. Once we were in the car, I texted Heather to ask if she could send a picture or a little video sometime later so that we could show it to our son.
Almost halfway there, we decided to exit the freeway and get a drink some place, so I grabbed my phone out of my purse. Heather’s name popped up and I smiled because I knew she’d have sent a picture of Bailey for our son to see.
I opened the text thread to see a message urging our son to check out my Facebook page.
I started reading, as the tears quickly began to roll down my cheeks:
10 Pieces of Advice From Our Family Dog to Our College Son
Sorry I missed you this morning, but I know how you need your beauty sleep (eye roll here). I’ll be playing with all my friends while you move and mommy single-handedly keeps Bed, Bath and Beyond in business.
Meanwhile, some words of wisdom as you go off to college …
- Play nice and share your toys.
- If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
- When you leave your yard, make it an adventure.
- Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
- Bond with your pack.
- Don’t go out without ID.
- When you’re happy, dance and wag your entire body.
- Be loyal.
- Always give a friendly greeting.
- If it’s not wet and sloppy, it’s not a real kiss!! (Don’t tell Mom I told you that one!)
I will really, really miss you, but know you’ll do great!
Good luck and I’ll be waiting for your return!
Love & kisses,
I gently nudged my son, and handed him my phone, without any words, wiping my eyes.
I watched him read and look at the pictures, while a huge smile spread across his face.
He got his goodbye, and we all got some simple yet significant reminders of how to live our lives – from a hound dog and a wise friend.
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