Monday, August 22, 2011

He's Not Off To College, Yet

It's football season again. Do you know what that means? In our house that means stinky shoulder pads strewn about the foyer, shirts that stink worse than anything I ever produced playing sports as a girl, and muddy cleats. It means excitement, as the weather starts to cool off. Visions of Friday night games under the lights start to emerge. Our beloved New England Patriots are on TV.
Austin boarded a bus today for a 5-hour drive to New York for an intense week of three-a-days and bonding drills, ropes courses and zip lines into the lake. He's off to football camp with his JV/Varsity football team, the Robinson Secondary Fighting Rams. Robinson is a Northern Virginia mega-school where they play some serious football. I'm excited about a new season. I am not thrilled about the fact that my oldest son is starting his sophomore year when it feels like I just sent him off to kindergarten. He'll be off to college in three short years, and when I type that, say it or even think it, I get anxious.
I stayed up late with Austin last night. We sat in his room sorting laundry and socks, making sure he had enough clean underwear and a travel toothbrush and toothpaste. He loaded all his gear into a military duffel bag and grabbed his pillow. I noticed his Bee, the security blanket that he has slept with since his baptism as a newborn baby. "Are you taking your Bee?", I asked. Not looking back as he left the room he answered, "Nope".
I went to bed already missing Austin. Dave was driving him to the bus at 5:00am and I knew he would be gone when I woke up. When one of my kids is away from me it just doesn't feel right. I suspect that this empty feeling is nothing in comparison to sending him off to college. It doesn't make sense. I cried when I downloaded the pictures of his incredible tackle from Saturday night's scrimmage. I checked Facebook countless times today, hoping for a status update telling me that he is OK.
Austin making a pile driving tackle
in Robinson's first 2011 scrimmage against Hylton.

Certainly he is OK, right? I know that he is having the time of his life, playing the sport that he loves more than anything in the world. That should be comforting. However, nothing is as comforting for me as having my babies right here with me, no matter how big they get.