There I sit at the dining room table, surrounded by lists, with almost everything crossed off. Checklists for clothing, bedding, toiletries. It hasn’t yet occurred to me that, yes, they do have Advil and detergent in Washington, DC. Best to put together an entire first aid kit, JUST IN CASE. But this obsessive preparation keeps my mind occupied and the tears at bay. After all, I am about to be fired. My main job and central preoccupation for almost two decades has been mothering my only daughter. And now, seemingly quite suddenly, she is off to college. I know what you’re thinking. “You will always be her mother. They all come back. She’ll still need you.” Yes, you’re right, of course. But from now on, it will be different. I won’t know where she is at 2am on a Saturday night. There will be no gaggle of boisterous teenagers running amok in my house. I won’t have ready access to my favorite lunch date. And I certainly won’t have an excuse to whip up her beloved Baked Pasta with Turkey Sausage. I find a small cardboard box and fill it with my last run to the Rite Aid: Band-Aids, Dayquil, Nyquil, Neosporin, Tums…shoot, I forgot the hydrogen peroxide. I tape it shut and mark it First Aid. I feel a little, teeny bit better. I’ve done my job. And while I know I will never be ready for her to fly the coop, she is. Absolutely. Click here to read the entire list.