The Birds Have Flown the Coop

With apologies to Adrian Peterson, Walter Mondale, and Prince, I’m really starting to hate Minnesota. Saturday it swallowed up Second Born. Now instead of aggravating us one minute and entertaining us the next, both our daughters are college students inside Minnesota’s borders. Now, the house seems too large for My Bethrothed, the Labradude, and my sad sack self.

I laid in bed too long on college move-in day, so after a 1 mile warm up, I decided to run a timed 5k on the school track. For those keeping score at home, Dave and Travis, after a 1 mile warmup I posted a 21:51, 7:10, 7:00, 6:51, :50. I had to hurry because the fam was loading up the college’s Zip Car with Target largess. Bright and early we drove to the dorm to meet the roommate, move-in, and start independent semi-adult life.

The roommate was nowhere to be found, the room was small even by college dorm standards, and it was hella hot and humid. When no one was looking, I slipped out, choosing instead to hang out in some shade in front of the dorm. It was a great perch from which to reflect on life changes while watching Second Born’s dormmates and their parents enter and exit with hands full.

I loved Knee High Black Socks neighbor’s look. Sun dress, knee high black socks, thickish glasses. A wonderful mix of independence and eccentricity. And then there was The Athlete, 6’2″, slender, perfect posture. She walked out, grabbed a road bike leaning against a Subaru, and took off. She returned five minutes later, tossed it back against the car and said to her family, “Okay, now I feel better.” The swim-bike-run sticker on the car made her my front runner for fav dormmate. Another had cross-country skis in her room, which puts her in the running too.

I was parent watching too. Amazing how all of the moms and dads looked so much older than me. The veggie burger and M&M cookies at lunch were great, the dean of student’s talk (“you can find it on the website”), not so much.

Who knew moving in was a marathon? I returned to my front porch perch and met Amy, one of Second Born’s Resident Assistants. Amy is a junior from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but she spent the summer as a counselor at a fine arts camp in Michigan (not the most prestigious one). She’s a music education major who plays the clarinet. Bright, personable, genuinely interested in Second Born and myself, a pure delight.

Eventually, I headed for the Den, the student lounge where I watched Premier League soccer with several loud 18 year olds. Always a trailblazer, once I broke The Den age barrier other sports-starved dads followed course. We outlasted the youth, as the defacto leader I commandeered the remote, and then switched to the US Open and college football.

Finally, the roommate arrived from forty minutes away. Nice family, positive first impression, a sigh of relief from SB.

A college official made us say goodbye at 4:45pm CST. Tears were shed.

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