Now that you dropped your child at college and are back home – now what? The past few weeks were spent getting them ready, all those lists and concerns about move in day are now behind you. Their dorm room is set up, they met their roommate , their books are bought, dining services set up, found the laundry room and you are back home. Well if you are anything Ike this UCP, you probably can’t help going into their room and staring at the empty space and crying. I can’t help myself, I sit on their beds and smile and enjoy all the wonderful memories of having them at home. Somehow all the difficulties of raising them fade and I don’t dwell on the fights, and times I had to play the tough parent. I indulge myself in those fond memories of the baby boy or girl that I raised and sent off to college.
When I am in their room I invariably start looking around and I see clutter, piles of stuff and drawers that are a little messy in their haste to pack for college. My first impulse is to rearrange those drawers and get a big garbage bag and throw away that clutter. But now, I resist that urge – let me tell you why!
Somebody asked me the other day if it gets easier to say goodbye to your college kids in the fall when they are a sophomore, junior or senior in college. I had to stop for a minute and think. For me the answer is a qualified, yes.
A lot of the anxiety that I experienced when each of my kids first went to school was tied to my child and the unknowns with respect to each of them. Would they like their roommate? Would they be able to handle the course load? Would they like their courses? Would they make good friends? How smoothly would move in day go? And the list of this worried parent went on and on.
After freshman year a lot of those issues are no longer applicable. The fact that each of my children has proved that they can indeed handle the college work load, get great grades, make new friends, take care of themselves, makes it easier to send them off to school. The anxiety that I first felt on letting them go has abated.
Another part of my nervousness about sending them away to school had to do with the changing dynamics of our family and me. When my oldest went off I worried about how the house would feel with one less person in it. Would it feel funny to have three of us in the house instead of four? How would it feel around the dinner table? Then when my youngest went off I worried about being an empty nester. How would I fill my time since so much of it was taken up with my kid’s schedules? And of course, how would I deal with the knowledge that I was moving into a new stage of life and my concept of family would have to change. Read More