Friday, September 5, 2008

Goodbye and Hello, Baby!

By Joanna Campbell Slan

Talk about your seesawing emotions.

The end of last month, my husband David and I were down in Florida, dropping our only child off at college. It took all the strength and will in my body to give Michael that last hug and walk away. Florida is such a long, long way away from St. Louis. I wished I’d never let him turn in that application!

But then again. He and the college were a perfect fit. We could tell from halfway through our tour.

But I stood on that doorsill and I hesitated. He’s nineteen, but he’s still my baby. Finally, my husband took my hand and we moved into the hall. I prayed as I walked away from Michael’s dorm room, “Dear Lord, don’t let me burst into tears.”

I made it to the car. We drove three miles away and then I started crying in those big, gulping sobs you NEVER hear in the movies. No starlet would EVER make that kind of unhuman sound. You would have thought someone was ripping my guts out because, well, they were. My arms flashed back to my son as a little boy, when he’d have trouble sleeping and we’d spoon together. The smell of his hair—that lovely combination of baby shampoo and busy boy—came back to me. And I literally howled with pain. In fact, I was so upset that I worried someone would think David had car-jacked me and call the cops.

Right as we got to the city limits, my cell phone rang.

“We have a baby,” said my sister Meg. She was calling from the delivery room of the hospital.

My niece Lexie had given birth to Skyler Logan Campbell right about the time we’d walked out of Michael’s dorm room. David and I drove up the highway and were there in time to hold our family’s newest addition when he was less then three hours old.

I didn’t tell Lexie how fast the years would go. She wouldn’t believe me. I didn’t believe it when people told me. And yeah, let’s be candid, there are a couple of stages where you think your kid will NEVER change, NEVER grow up. Like the mom I talked to today at my first book signing. She told me that her son was resisting all efforts to be potty trained. I still remember what the pediatrician told me: “No one ever goes to college wearing pull-ups.”

But I knew she wouldn’t believe that. So instead I just smiled to myself.

Life’s like that. There’s so much you have to discover by yourself.

And isn’t that just GRAND?


To read an excerpt from Paper, Scissors, Death by Joanna Campbell Slan, go to

To order your copy—complete with a coupon for 50 Free Digital Prints—go to

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