I knew it was coming, and so did you because I've been talking about it for months, haven't I? On Thursday, my son left home to move into the dorms at his college.
Oh, there are a couple of articles on coping with your child leaving home on the Internet that have come my way, but, seriously, there should be whole books. Remember What to Expect When You're Expecting? There needs to be a book like that for this phase of life, too. It could be called something like, What You Need to Know to Let Go and it could be filled with sage advice on things like how to stop listening for them to come home every night, and what to do with all the extra milk in the refrigerator.
There could be charts showing milestones and when to expect them -- like the first time you come across his favorite snack in the grocery aisle without tearing up, and that moment you actually feel happy to have the TV all to yourself.
There would need to be a whole chapter on ways to not be clingy/needy, including a checklist for not calling, emailing and/or texting your kid multiple times a day, with a chart that shows you just how long is long enough to wait to make that first, post dorm drop-off contact.
Such a book might even lay out a timeline for how long it might take to stop feeling so sad. During week one, expect to feel your heart in your throat at the sight of your child's empty bedroom. By the end of week three, your chest should feel less like it has been cut open and more like healing has begun. Until this happens, avoid laying on your child's bed clutching his pillow as it could lead to more frequent bouts of sobbing and self-pity.
This is day four. I think I have a long way to go!