I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with this feeling. I dropped my son off at college yesterday. Classes start today. We carried all his stuff to his dorm room, gave each other a hug, and then I drove the 100-minute-trip home—in a near-blizzard for the first part of the trip.
It's been almost twenty years to the day since I brought him home for the first time as a five-day-old infant, wrapped in my down coat. Sudden single parenthood in the space of a few very turbulent days.
House seems empty today; different, somehow, than when he's living at home but out. The dog notices it too—she's been hanging close all day. This is going to take some getting used to. For the dog and me, at least.
More than anything, I'm hoping he has a good experience at college—he's ready for it, I think.
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Featured Comments from:
Mike: "Yeah, it will pass. My three sons left for college, one each year for three years. After the last one left I felt the way you seem to—for a day. Then the feeling of freedom started to set in. It was like I was a kid again. And when I retired it got even better.
"Now I have one off on his own (but he won't take all his stuff). One in the last months of med school (but he won't take all his stuff). And one who just graduated after bouncing through almost as many majors as I did (but he won't take all his stuff).
"We have bought and remodeled a smaller house since the two of us won’t need all the room we did when three sons were living here (but we can't get rid of the old house because the new house doesn't have room for all our sons' stuff).
"The kids may leave, but their stuff never does…."
Paugie: "My two daughters graduated from college in October 2000. One took seven and a half years and the other four and a half years to traverse their college courses. They very easily got jobs and soon after, I announced that I was giving both of them the freedom to leave the family home. (Oops, just realized I have to say that here in the Philippines it is the custom for children to stay at home until they get married, or in many cases, even long after they have married. It is not unusual to have three generations living in one household.)
"I said that I wouldn't want for them to live their single lives under my control and then come under the control of their husbands (another custom which Westerners may find weird) without knowing what it is like to be 'free.' I wanted them to enjoy their singleness, being that they had their own jobs and could fend for themselves. Having declared so, I felt that would be that.
"Little did I know that my second daughter (who was so babied by her mother that she was 11 before she was allowed to cross a street by herself) would take up the offer. Just a little over a week later, she said, 'Papa, on Thursday, please borrow Uncle Henry's pick-up and bring me and my furniture to the small place I rented which is quite near my place of work.'
"I was flabbergasted! Thursday came. The whole afternoon they were loading up the vehicle, I was simmering inside, almost fuming. I could not understand my feelings. My daughter was leaving my home. I even managed to drive one of the wheels into a ditch and had to ask neighbors' assistance to jack the axle up to get the pick-up out of the ditch.
"Two of my three children have gotten married since then, but I have never felt as bad as on that night."
William OBrien: "Five kids, five partings, still have 'stuff' from all of the kids. Had to push some out, some left as soon as they could. That said they all come back as often as they can, they bring husbands/wives, grandchildren, problems, etc. We love them all and enjoy them and the little ones constantly. You will never get over it but they will come back."