The First And Worst Month Of College!
Everyone talks about how difficult it is to take your child to college, move them in to a dorm and then make the long drive or flight home alone. For me, that was all fairly easy and relatively painless. This year I moved my baby (and third child) into her dorm in record time and remarked to a friend that I now had it down to such a science that I should write a book about it. (The key is organization and labeling.) I spent a good amount of time with my daughter and headed home, relaxed and proud. It wasn’t until this week that I really had a hard time. Don’t get me wrong; I missed her but in a somewhat perfunctory way. I wished she were home to walk the dog (or conversely to clean up after the dog) or to help me with something around the house.
At the one-month mark I began to take inventory of what I was really missing. My youngest child has long been a mystery to me – ardently social and outgoing; she floats along happily in a sea of friends and activities. She played a varsity sport, participated in orchestra and maintained an “A” average throughout high school. In many respects she is the polar opposite of me as a teenager. In spite of this difference, she was always an exuberant whirlwind in my life. No matter what time she would get home at night, whether from practice, a party or her job – she would always bounce into whatever room I was in and proceed to tell me all about her day.
Some days, there wasn’t a lot to report but with her humorous take on things she managed to make it entertaining nonetheless. Other days the conversations would be deeper and more complex and showed me the strong young woman she was becoming. I was her sounding board for everything – when friends went through breakups, should she do this or that? When a lifelong friend lost her grandfather, we baked brownies so she could deliver them the same night along with a hand made and heartfelt card. Occasionally there would be quieter nights spent watching a quick show or playing a video game, but we were always together.
To be fair, some of these nights turned into arguments as my rules were too strict or I didn’t see her perspective properly or in any one of a million ways wasn’t measuring up to her idea of who I should be. We were loud, we yelled, we cried but we always ended with hugs and love.
Now my nights are tranquil and quiet, no sudden bursts of laughter or conversation. I am able to read a book undisturbed, to watch a TV show uninterrupted. My baby girl snapchats me multiple times a day, and we text in between. She calls me whenever she can, and I’m thrilled she is settled in and enjoying college. My heart soars when she talks about how much she likes her classes, potential internships and how sure she is about her career choice. This is every mother’s goal, to raise independent, critically thinking and capable children.
I just wish I could have had one more noisy night with my girl, hearing all about a lot of things I don’t need to know…just to hear her voice and her laugh. She will be home in a few weeks for Thanksgiving and I intend to soak up as much of her time as I can – it won’t be much, she already has plans with a half dozen friends, but I’ll do my best to store up those sounds to help me through the long silent time until winter break.
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