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Our daughter's favorite stuffed animal, Pooka, maintains a lonesome vigil on her bed back home. While packing, she debated briefly bringing Pooka, named for the dog in the Disney movie "Anastasia," but then left him.

In the next two days, we're going to review everything we've taught you in the first 18 years of your life, I told our daughter last weekend.

She laughed because she knew time was on her side. Two days later, we moved her into her dorm at the University of Texas. She was free.

Even so, she looked like a scared little girl when she buried her face in her mother's shoulder and cried as we prepared to leave her there. Of course, that brought out the tears from her mother, too.

I gave her a big hug and, oddly enough, didn't cry. I'm a softie, so I'm still trying to figure out this lack of emotion. Part of me was too busy being excited for her to cry. She's going to have the time of her life. Why be sad?

What with the college savings plan, the application process, the graduation events, and all of the dorm nesting trips to the store, we had been preparing for this day for so long that it almost felt anticlimactic. Why wouldn't she be ready?

We took two vehicles to move in her stuff, so I had plenty of alone time to think on the drive home. By the time I reached Cuero, she called to talk. We agreed to FaceTime when everyone got home. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, we're connected more than ever. We have FaceTimed (is that a verb?), called or texted every day since she's been in the dorm.

Her parents hope that pace will continue, but already she is discovering how much there is to do at college. On her second day in the dorm, she tweeted that she and her roommate had caught the FOMO -- fear of missing out.

Alas, her parents caught that the day she was born. We've never wanted to miss one moment of our amazing daughter's life.


Our son still at home, a high school junior, tweeted this photo with the message: New family time. #LifeWithoutNicole