All of which adds up to the thousands of recruiting letters and brochures she receives every day from every university in the country. She's a hair away from needing an administrative assistant to sort and catalogue them all. Every state university, every private university, every religious university (go ahead...I double dog dare you to apply to Liberty Baptist). I know what's coming next; like a cloud of locusts on the horizon, the plague of recruiters will abandon the letter writing campaign and move up to the phone calls.
And I can see her wheels turning. "What would it be like to live in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, etc.?"
The eternal parental struggle is on!
"Have you considered SIU?"
"Mom! I don't want to go to SIU. Maybe the University of Chicago...am I smart enough for the University of Chicago?"
"You are, but we're not rich enough. How about the University of Illinois? You'd be close to Uncle Matthew and Aunt Katie. They'd feed you when you were broke."
"How about Harvard?" she says.
"How about Southeast Missouri?" I counter.
Wherever she ends up, I can see that this is one of the steps to adulthood. To picture yourself on your own, and consider what it takes to get there. To weigh and discard options...and hopefully pick one that's a good fit.
And I'm a mixed bag of pride and worry and excitement and sadness. We're transitioning together, Katie and I. What would it be like to have a daughter in say, Boston, and a son in Tucson? What will it feel like to not be raising kids?
When they're toddlers, you dream of the day they're independent. But when that time finally arrives, it's a struggle not to grab hold of their ankles and hold on while they try to walk out the door.
Quick, Carrie! I need a grandbaby!