This month's calendar has several new zoom appointments, with names like “Preparing For Your Student’s Arrival” and “Student Financial Services: You’re Almost Here!” Our spare room is full of hangers, towels, and bed linens in a weird size called “twin XL.”

It begins.

In a little over three weeks, we’re headed to Chicago to move Alex into her dorm, so she can begin her first year at theSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago, studying visual communication design. It’s funny, but every time I say that people come out of the woodwork with deeply concerned faces. “Are you okay, mama?” they ask, close to tears.

For the record: I’mfine. I’m sure when we return from Chicago to a quiet house it will hit me, but for now, the only emotion I’m registering isjoy. I’m just so thrilled. She is ready to be on her own, and I’m so excited for her. Every time we log on to one of these zoom appointments and a random dean offers some new fun fact about the school or the city or the facilities, I look at her with wild eyes: “Isn’t thatawesome?”

“Yes, Mom,” she says, amused. She has a habit of playing it cool, but I know she’s excited, too.

What’s more difficult, honestly, is the transition in our relationship thatmusthappen. My friendAsha Dornfest,who has kids who are just a bit older than Alex and who always gives me great advice, once told me that when your adult kids move out of your house, the trick is to go from being theirparentto being theirmentor. This is so wise, and man, it’s sodifficult. I am trying to be so mindful not to tell her what to do, but instead, simply be clear that I’m here for advice if she needs me. I want her to know I trust her to make her own decisions now. But old habits die hard.

I’ve got three weeks to get it together, though. She’s so ready.

Not long now.

Incidentally, if you’re parenting an adult or on the cusp of doing so,you really want to check out Asha’s new newsletter, coming soon. When I tell you she’s my mentor when it comes to parenting, I’m not kidding.Check it out.