On Wednesday, my family actually ate breakfast together. This is extremely rare in our house, because everybody leaves for school and work at a different time, and also some of us (Bess) are morning people and others (everybody else) are decidedly not.
It was a special occasion. After breakfast, Bess and I would be taking our daughter to Athens to begin her freshman year of college.
We were eating baked oatmeal. When the boys leave home, they'll likely request something involving pork products, nacho cheese and a frying pan.
Conversation was scarce. So I turned to Cary and said, "I can't wait to see what you become." Like I said, I'm not a morning person.
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The middle son, who's 14, pushed back from the table and cried, "You've got to be kidding!" Like I said, he's not a morning person either. He stood up to leave but realized he was still hungry and sat back down.
Soon enough, it was time for the boys to leave for school.
Cary had always wanted a sister. When she was 6, I called her from the hospital to tell her she had a third little brother. She hung up on me.
Now, one by one, she hugged her brothers and told them she loved them. It was a nice moment.
Then we loaded up the car and drove to Athens.
We'd heard nightmare stories about moving into the freshman dorms at the University of Georgia.
A cheery student leader in a "Hunker Down" T-shirt guided us to a parking lot about a half-mile from Cary's dorm. We lugged some boxes along a winding path to the building, then climbed four flights of stairs. There was no elevator.
But things got better fast.
I moved our van to a closer lot, where I met Cary's roommate's parents. This was the third and final time they were moving a daughter into a freshman dorm at UGA, and they were old pros. Their oldest daughter was there too, and she'd brought her husband, who'd been a resident assistant.
They had a hand truck, too.
In two hours, we'd unloaded everything, lofted the girls' beds, set up the futon, put together some shelves, arranged all their clothes in the closets, and read a printed history we'd found inside the old dresser that had belonged to her roommate's grandfather.
Then we went to dinner at Herschel Walker's restaurant, where they squirt the number 34 onto the baked beans with barbecue sauce. I'd been more impressed if they'd used the beans to create a mosaic of Herschel plowing over Bill Bates.
Then we dropped Cary off at her dorm, said goodbye, and drove home.
That's about it.
Like all stories, this one would have been better if everything hadn't gone so smoothly. It also would have been better if Bess had cried, which everyone including me had predicted.
But she did not. She was excited for Cary, who's ready for this next step and has a lot of great opportunities and even a great roommate.
Bess will probably cry later, when she realizes there's nobody around to watch "Downton Abbey" with her.
Until then, we're trying to adjust to our new life. For starters, I've decided to yell, "I can't wait to see what you become!" whenever my 14-year-old leaves the house.
He loves it.
Actually, I can't wait to see what we all become. Should be interesting.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, firstname.lastname@example.org