We did it. I did it. At this time yesterday we hugged each other so tightly, tears welling up and spilling down my face, and I let him go. Again.
I'm recognizing that this letting go is not really the last or even something final. It's just the biggest one that's occured thus far. It's the most total and drastic shift in roles we've experienced up to this point. And yes, it means that he is completely free to make his own choices about everything he does (or can afford!) without any input from me unless he asks for it. So, it will be okay. Partially because he literally can't afford too many choices :) and also because we've built a relationship of trust over these past 18 years. In fact, it will be better than okay. It will be great.
We left him at Pepperdine. I can't imagine how there could be a more idyllic setting for him either physically or spiritually. While it is a Christian school, it is not rigid in the way the typical Christian school is rigid. They purposefully admit large numbers of students who are not Christians, as well as those who vary greatly in their beliefs of what being a Christian might look like. I'm in love with Pepperdine. I want to BE Pepperdine! ha! Their "brand" of our particular denomination suits me to a big giant T.
Case in point, you would NEVER EVER (don't even think it, or heaven forbid suggest it) see a woman praying out loud in any setting where there is even one man present in our church. Women can lead prayer in an all women's class. That's it. It's probably just me, but I even get the idea sometimes that those prayers don't really "count" in our church. But that's probably just my personal bias being projected there.
At our first family dinner not only did a woman lead the prayer, but she was introduced as the chaplain of the entire university! I felt like standing up and doing a little dance, which I'm pretty sure would have been okay at a place like Pepperdine.
I guess my over-all feeling of well-being about leaving him there can be summed up like this. It felt like spiritual home to me. Yes, I know it's a completely unrealistic place what with the ocean view, mountains, perfect climate....all that. But really, that's God's creation, isn't it? I'm going to choose to view that as further proof of what an amazing creator he is and know that the setting of Pepperdine comes from the very hand of God. He formed those mountains and that ocean for our pleasure. And I couldn't be more thrilled that my son has been blessed enough to continue to grow and learn....intellectually, physically, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually, surrounded by the beauty of God's creation and guided by an institution that "is not threatened by those seeking truth."
There's much more to say. I'm going to continue it later as I've much to do to get settled back in here at home.