When Ads was a toddler, he was a stickler for routine (he still is). Predictability was key to avoid meltdowns so if there was going to be any disruption or even a minor change to his routine, we would proactively manage it and let him know what to expect.
I am realizing now that he used the same tactics to prepare us for his departure. Slowly but surely, he has been disengaging himself from us for the last year or two. This summer, between his gym routine, summer job, cricket practice and matches, we barely saw him. He slank in and out of the house quietly and sometimes the only inkling I had of his arrival or (more likely) departure, was the sound of the garage door closing!
It has now been 10 days since we dropped him off at college. We flew into Madison the previous evening, picked up all the stuff that I had shipped to my friend's place, unpacked and loaded into the car. We also had a nice Indian dinner with our friend. The next morning, we were up bright and early to make our 9 am move-in slot at the campus. The move-in was extremely smooth. We went into the dorm, discovered his roommate was already in the room, and got to work. Lofted the bed, unpacked the bags and in an hour almost everything was in place. Ads is lucky because his residence hall has no ACs in any of the rooms, except for his room! The fan I had ordered from Costco never arrived, so it was a good thing we had AC...I would have collapsed in the heat otherwise. Madison was baking in uncharacteristic 90 degree weather.
We had lunch in the dining hall, and made a quick trip to Target to stock up on essentials, and another trip to get him a credit card. Then back to the dorm, said goodbye and left him to his own devices. He had a house meeting that evening and seemed to want to be left alone. S and I headed to Memorial Union terrace to have some icecream and soon after, whom do we see, but Ads heading our way with some kids! Apparently, we were all going to the same place - a gathering of desi kids and parents on the terrace overlooking Lake Mendota. We parted ways again after that, but of course S always meets and knows people everywhere and there was a catchup of his BITS batchmates (5 of them have freshmen in Madison this year!). By the time we finished dinner and got back to the hotel, it was past 11 pm. It had been a very long day.
The next day, we did a tour of Epic Systems, a Madison institution (started by a Badger). Fantastic and quirky corporate campus. Lunch on campus, another quick catchup with Ads and it was time for a final goodbye before we drove to the airport. No tears, no drama, much to Ads' relief.
And 10 days later, he seems to be doing well and so are we! Proud he has settled in so well and hope he does well at school, makes a lot of new friends and feels good about his choice. His dorm has been great about organizing events almost everyday so that has helped break the ice (not all dorms do it). He is playing tennis everyday, and hanging out with people. With more than 8000 freshmen, there are a lot of people to meet!