OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACousins Renée (left) and Dana (in very high heels).

Last February, the mere prospect of losing her granddaughters Renée and Dana to college turned Susan Cohen melancholy. So melancholy, indeed, that she wrote a post for us—“The Off-to-College Blues”—about it. Now they have gone, and, as Susan makes clear, it’s not only parents who mourn when the fledglings leave the nest. —Ed.

Well, the time has come, the day I have been dreading. Actually, the days I’ve been dreading: Renée left for college on Saturday and Dana left two days later.

My granddaughters—loving first-cousins-and-best-friends, born 10 weeks apart—have been so busy this summer that we probably wouldn’t have seen them at all if we hadn’t been to their softball tournaments. My husband and I tried getting them into the city for an overnight or at least a day of shopping, but it never worked out. So we had to settle for a family dinner with Renée one night last week and with Dana the next night. Now they’re settled in their dorms, and I have the pictures to prove it.

photo photo-1Renée’s room (left); Dana’s room (right)

Dana’s room, for the moment, is clutter-free, which means you can see the rug on the floor. I am not sure how long that will last. She is hoping that her roommate is not into neat, so the room will have a coordinated look. The wall behind her bed has light fixture, a calendar, and a picture of her parents, her brother Ben, and Renée that were taken on a cruise this summer. It started as a family cruise, but Renée invited herself along.

Renée’s room is like Renée—chock full of stuff. The wall has a calendar and dozens of pictures of family and friends. There is also a floor-to-ceiling poster of the Eiffel Tower, to remind her that we are going to Paris next year. Her desk is covered with more stuff and more pictures.

She is planning on visiting Dana for her birthday in two weeks. Their schools are only 44 miles apart, but, as my husband keeps telling them, there is no railroad that runs between Albany and Williamstown. They’ll figure something out, I’m sure.

I cried after we said goodbye, I cried in the car going home, and I cried when I saw the pictures. I know I will cry saying goodbye to them again and again until I get used to their departures. But there is the trip to Paris next year. I look forward to spending a week with them and I know they look forward to being together.

Meanwhile, I have a large bag of chocolate chips on hand and will start baking cookies tomorrow.

Some things will never change.