The college drop-off, which promised to be heart-wrenching, was surprisingly calm. I shed no tears. I kept my cool. Rocco, characteristically stoic, betrayed his feelings with a smile of resignation that I shared. Neither of us wanted to make the moment dramatic, so we hugged—with just a moment of lingering—and then parted awkwardly. My heart tugged as I said goodbye to my oldest son, though my first thought was, “We are so closely connected, physical distance between us will do nothing to change that.”
My husband, Joel, my younger son, Gio, and I drove back home, chit-chatting much of the way. We were all going to miss Rocco deeply as we four became we three. Our nervous conversation echoed off the well of feelings about leaving our son and brother, a feeble attempt to keep those feelings at bay, much like the Japanese tradition of laughing away demons.