Reality strikes. The culmination of almost eighteen years arrives. Preparation is futile, letting go is unnatural. Paternal instinct says love, protect, and care; release is never part of the plan. This morning I walked out my front door, as I do five mornings a week. Only this morning was different. This morning the normally comforting sight of my teenage son’s trusty yellow car sent me into an emotion upheaval, a condition that clung to me most of the day. What made today different; the realization of that vehicle’s symbolism to me. I take comfort in the presence of that yellow car; it assures me that my first born son is safely home. Tomorrow that car will carry my son 120 miles away to college. A constant in my life will be no more. My child of promise, the one we thought we might never have, and the one who makes me laugh and want to choke him all within the same five minutes begins the first phase of his adult life. The mature, responsible, hemisphere of my brain understands this transition as a natural progression; understands that leaving for college is a good and desired goal. However, the Mommy in me screams, “NO, NO, NO, not my baby!” The day has ended and the emotional stress has left me weary. I fear tomorrow will be worse, for I get the sheer pleasure of leaving my son in a foreign place surrounded by unknowns. I get the pleasure of driving home blinded by tears. I get the pleasure of believing I have done everything humanly possible to ensure my son is ready for this huge step. Sadly, I am the one left unprepared and heartbroken. Three years until I repeat the process with my baby girl. Think I will be more prepared then? Doubtful.