I must admit that I have been debating as to whether or not to write this post for a few days for reasons ranging from this being a very sensitive topic for me to not really wanting to put my 'feelings out there' because it is a topic so close to my heart. I also know that while there is a wide range of emotions possible concerning this topic, at least in my neck of the woods, I am somewhat of a lone wolf. All that said, I have been receiving such encouragement from friends to blog about this that I decided to tell it like it is. Before proceeding, please remember that just because we may not share the same viewpoint on this topic, dear readers, we are each entitled to that viewpoint or feeling. Remember what your mom told you about if you don't have anything nice to say...okay?
We dropped my oldest off at college yesterday morning and I am taking it hard, very, very hard. I feel such a profound sense of loss in our home and a weird, almost other-wordly, anxiety. I think my husband said it best when he reminded me that all the other events we had done with our children included adding to our family. This is the first time that we are subtracting from it and it is painful. I had worked myself up into a beautiful frenzy all last week in anticipation of the big departure. I did not miss 'one last' with my son (even though I tried to keep my mind from going there, my other children never missed an opportunity to remind me) from the last meal I would prepare for him as a transitional child--not a higher schooler anymore/not yet in college--to the last walk he took with Phoebe, our dog, and everything in between. We all know how obsessive I can be, right? Well, I found out I had new talents in that area as well. Yay me! I have spoken to quite a few of my friends who dropped their boys off a week earlier and who are still having trouble going into their sons' rooms or falling apart at random times during the day. I can only imagine how long it will take me to even be close to having a day without tears.
The issue is not that he will be unhappy or that I am worried about him at college (okay, maybe a little). The issue is all mine, the loss of his childhood, the feeling of having run out of time. He is there having the time of his life, the start of his independence with new friends, perhaps a girlfriend, interesting classes and activities. The sky is the limit. I am here in the same home we shared grappling with memories and feeling selfish about wanting to share the next chapter of his life as I have done every chapter before. It is a new feeling and one that I am not comfortable with as yet. One friend told me that she cried for two weeks straight after dropping her daughter off at college while another told me that it took her sister an entire year to become totally comfortable with dropping her son off at school. One of my oldest friends ended up in therapy as a result of her boys leaving a year apart. The empty nest is a prickly place sometimes. Thank heaven I still have three more little birds in mine. My youngest knows that where ever he goes to college, we are going with him! he had better choose a great school in an even greater climate.
I just got off the phone with my freshman and he sounds very good, a little off kilter, but that is to be expected during this transitional time. Growing up is hard on everyone, perhaps on this mom most of all.