Head Home Previous Next Last

Leaving Amanda at College, Age 57

Recently retired from the California Department of Education, Andrew Laufer is writing a book about his life including periods as a butcher's helper, food service worker, construction laborer, animal research assistant, seasonal fire fighter, and janitor. In his youth, he hitch-hiked up and down the coast and out to Colorado numerous times providing context for hundreds of short stories.

We knew it was coming, the day Amanda would leave for college. She had finished high school with honors and had been accepted to a number of high-quality colleges. My wife, Nancy, and I knew that going away to college was a right-of-passage for Amanda. She was ready and eager to go, and we thought we were ready too.

To prepare for her send off, Nancy and Amanda went shopping to get all the necessities for dorm life. We had a large family gathering to send her off, which served to remind her of the love we have for her and to pad her bank account substantially. We hinted in the invitations that she was going to be a poor starving student for a few years, and we knew that abundant donations would result.

What I remember most about that gathering was saying Grace before the meal. I love giving thanks for all the blessings we have, but I'm never excited to be in the limelight.

Saying Grace is always emotional for me, especially when the reason for the gathering is for such a monumental occasion. While saying Grace, I thanked everyone for coming to support and say farewell to Amanda. Their love for my daughter, my lovely girl, my little chick whose flapping wings would soon carry her away, overwhelmed me.

Before I could even finish saying "thank you" to everyone for sending my baby off, I got choked up and could barely get the words out. Finally, I made it to "Amen" and we broke the circle to begin serving our selves.

Yolanda, my sister-in-law, came up to me and warned me it was going to be a lot worse when I dropped her off at college. I was determined to be strong.













The anticipation grew until the day to drive her to Santa Clara University finally came. Nancy, Amanda, her brother Javier, and I packed up the truck and started on the two-hour drive.

We arrived, unloaded the truck, went to the cafeteria, and everything was great. No tears, staying strong. Good!

Then it came time to say goodbye on the sidewalk in front of the dorm. Javi gave her a big bear hug, all was still good. Nancy was next, and she was choking back the emotion, but holding it together.

When it was my turn, I thought I saw Amanda trying to hold back her tears, and it was all over for me. I gave her a hug and couldn't stop the emotions welling up inside of me.

The three of us walked away with tears in our eyes, leaving Amanda to her new life. We were unable to talk for fear that we would just start blubbering out loud.

That was just the beginning. Nancy and I cried the whole way home, tears flowing for two hours straight. Javier even cried more than he expected.

Our reaction to this event is puzzling. We knew we were just doing what needed to be done. It was the best thing for Amanda. No other option was as good, but we still cried.

I guess it was just the change of no longer sharing our daily lives together that got to us. Well, we recovered nicely and adjusted. She quickly adapted to her independence.

She'd come to visit and was always happy to see us, but she was always happy to get back to her own pad. That is the way it should be. That is life. Still, I began to dread the day I would have to drop my son off.

~ Andrew Laufer


















Last page
Next page
Previous page
Home page