by Colleen LaMay
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Helen Keller
I dropped my eldest, Kuranda, off at college recently, an annual rite I share with millions of other parents. She is a Buckeye, a sophomore at The Ohio State University in Columbus. The drive to OSU was loud with echoes of another time and place, another drive to school.
Yesterday in “mom time,” I drove Kuranda across town instead of across three states. I took her to her first day of preschool, looking in the rear-view mirror at her car seat. She sucked hard on the knuckle of her right index finger. She had the whole finger in her mouth, the way she did when she was nervous. She clutched a brand new Teletubbies lunch bucket to her chest. I had tucked a love note inside, under her sandwich. Her eyes brimmed with tears.
Now our roles were reversed. I was the one fighting back tears. Our house in Warrenton, VA., is 388 miles from OSU, and it takes six hours and 23 minutes to get there, according to Google Maps, a mobile-phone application that also tells me how bad traffic is, where construction is under way and how much time I consume if I take one of two alternate routes. It does not tell me how many tears I will shed per mile on the return trip, as I think about the baby, the child, the teenager and now the adult she is becoming.