So it’s the first week of school and all the students are back in town. We survived another move-in weekend, complete with ten thousand overloaded minivans driving the wrong direction down the one-way streets and hour-long lines in every drive-thru restaurant in town. And while I inevitably swear each year that I will think ahead and be sure not to need anything from Wal-Mart during freshman welcome week, I ALWAYS manage to wind up there just the same, amid all the chaos.

 As I navigated the aisles and attempted to fulfill my Wal-Mart shopping list in just under a day, I couldn’t help but notice the expressions on the faces all around me. Every single aisle had at least three bewildered-looking dads pushing mounded up carts, while the ends of the aisles were all congested with nervous moms barking orders over their cell phones and looking frantic. But somehow this year, I did not roll my eyes and groan while I waited in line for my turn to look at the Frosted Flakes and Rice Chex. Instead, I watched these parents.

They all had the same terrified look behind their eyes. That whole “it’s-almost-time-to-say-goodbye-and-what-do-we-do-then?” expression. And I felt bad for them. All of a sudden, I thought ahead to my own future, and that of my baby’s. Suddenly,  I was that scared parent sending my little one off to college, loading palettes of water bottles onto the cart and thinking wistfully how it seemed like only yesterday that it was still just a tiny little thump in my tummy.

 What a weird feeling.

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