Cute W and I delivered the package to Iowa last week. It is a very long drive, about 16 or 17 hours without stops or traffic, so we stayed in a hotel each way. On the way out, Cute W was super-excited to pick up a bunch of donuts from Do-Rite Donuts, which we visited years ago and have been part of his vivid breakfast fantasy life ever since.
They are still quite delicious.
We arrived at Grinnell late on Tuesday morning, the 17th, and we got M all squared away, finding her dorm room (in “the pit,” or basement, but pretty spacious and in a great location of the section of campus she was hoping for), making a run to the nearby Walmart for last-minute necessities like a fan, and taking her out to lunch. And then she was ready for us to go. So we went. And here’s the thing: we were not reluctant to leave because we didn’t want to say goodbye: we were reluctant because it’s our alma mater and we wanted to walk around campus and see what had changed and reminisce and basically just take a little time before jumping back into the car. Except we hadn’t really had a specific plan to do that ahead of time, and of course M was shooing us away, and by the time we both said, “Hey, we should have spent a little more time, just the two of us, walking around campus,” we were already speeding east on the highway and couldn’t bring ourselves to turn around with such a long voyage ahead. I did insist that we take a tour inside the newly-done Humanities and Social Science Center, because I had heard it’s super-cool. They basically built a big, modern building around the existing classroom building, making extra classroom space but also all sorts of bright, atrium space to hang out in. I think it’s really beautiful and cool.
So, how was it, saying goodbye to our first-born? I’ve gotta be honest: it was way easier than saying goodbye to her last year. Last year we put our unvaccinated kid on an airplane in the middle of a pandemic to go across the country to a job we knew hardly anything about in a town where she knew no one, moving into her first apartment in which she’d have to figure out how to purchase and prepare her own food, while in her spare time, she’s be doing potentially hazardous mountain sports. I mean, I couldn’t even bring myself to tell y’all about it until I knew she was settled and functional. We were getting her healthcare proxy in order just in case. It was tough. By contrast, leaving her at Grinnell was a walk in the park. It feels like home to us, she’ll have all of her food prepared, we trust that she’ll have helpful adults around, and in a pinch, we even know alumni who are in town. So our overwhelming feeling as we left our daughter on campus, a campus that is much the same except way, way, better with almost 30 years’ worth of improvements, to go meet up with her new soccer teammates and coach, and later with the professor who’s teaching the first-choice tutorial that she managed to get, is envy. Raging, burning envy. We’re so jealous of all the fun and learning and growing she’ll be doing.
Since drop-off, we’ve chatted with M a bit, and she is completely exhausted, but she’s making friends and she got into the classes that she wanted to take, and yesterday was her first day of classes. So: yay. She’s on her way.