O.K. Perhaps I am being slightly too dramatic.

No, no I am not as it turns out. Tonight was Noah’s last night as a full-time resident of Chez Mayhew. Tomorrow he goes off to college. College. And so, I think it’s time to pull out the biscuit cutter photo. Nothing like a little embarrassment to send dammit boy off to school. (Until he was five, Noah thought his name was “dammit boy” as in “Dammit, boy, stop smearing peanut butter on the cat.”)

Let me just set the scene. Noah is in our bathtub. “Mommy!” he yells. “Mommy!” I go into the bathroom and Noah has somehow gotten a biscuit cutter from the kitchen. Made his way back to the bathroom. And put it up his leg. And, as you can tell from his expression, he was pretty pleased with himself. Instead of the alarm I was supposed to display as a mother with a child whose leg was turning blue, I paused to snap a photo before we removed the cutter with some vegetable oil. You see, everything was food related from the very beginning.

When Noah was about seven, he spilled an entire strawberry milkshake on the front seat of the Jeep. Cloth seats, of course. I remember thinking, “I can’t wait until this kid goes off to college.”

I was wrong. So very, very wrong. For the last few weeks, in particular, I have been slowly having a nervous breakdown. But the funny thing is, I know it’s time. I do not want a 36-year-old child living at home. And the only way to prevent that is to pack him off to college and let him live his life. His life. Not mine? I struggle with that. But his.

Tonight, I made a tremendously incorrect meal. Sausage balls, chorizo pizza and my version of the Olive Garden salad. But those are three of his favorite things and he is having three of his favorite friends for supper.

I was not quick enough with the camera. This is the sum total of what was left at the end of the meal. And I am going to miss that, too. For the last few years, this house was filled with hungry teenagers who laid waste to my refrigerator.

I have been reading advice from other mothers who have sent their children to college. Move him in quickly and make a clean break of it. Do not embarrass the child in front of his new roommate by openly sobbing as the husband pries your hands off the closing door.  Ta ta! See you in December!

I will say this for the record and I’m sure every mother feels this way. It’s been a wonderful ride. The construction paper birthday cards, Santa’s visit Christmas morning, the days spent watching him play t-ball. Actually, those games were agony. And let’s not even talk about the eighth grade production of “The Music Man.” Torture. I had to stow a paper cup of Chardonnay in the car for some relief during intermission.

But for the most part, it’s been the most special time of my life. So Mark and I will “take” him to college. Actually, his car has been packed for days and we’re just following him over to Knoxville. We will tote his belongings to his new room. And we will leave. Gracefully. With dignity. I hope.


  1. Lori
    January 22, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Don’t ask how I stumbled upon this post. 🙂 Well, pretty randomly it was. Anyway, I have a 4-month old son. I just wanted to say thanks for the reminder that if I blink, he’ll be off to college.

    • the south in my mouth
      the south in my mouthReply
      January 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      Congratulations. The next 18 years will be the most precious of your life, although at times you will think you only say four words to him: “No” and “Don’t do that.” That starts about age 3. But you will grow an amazing person and have a lot of fun in the process. Thanks for the comment.

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