Ok so here it is, 5 days since my boy headed off to college and now I am seeing on Facebook and hearing through conversation there are hoards of children cleaning out their rooms, packing up boxes, loading up trucks, trains, planes and automobiles, all to adorn the entryways of higher learning.
Since my boy left early to attend a freshman backpacking trip (super idea), my personal experience with watching our son vanish in the rear view mirror gave me a bit of a leg up in the separation anxiety arena and the raw emotions associated.
None of which I was prepared for in the least! It pretty much has gone something like this over the last several days.
- Cried at the thought of him never really “living” here anymore
- Cried at my burnt toast
- Cried at the sight of the dog licking its ass
- Cried over feeding the fish
- Cried because the coffee I was drinking was the same as his
- Cried when I looked into his room (oh wait that was because I was going to have to clean it)
- Cried at the prospect of dying alone (whoops an unrelated topic, sorry)
- Sniveled at the thought of mowing the lawn
Went to bed, woke up the next morning (yes that was the first day)
- Cried at the thought of crying
- recited over and over again: I am so sad, why am I so sad?
- Transferred money into his checking account (you guessed it cried again)
- Cried while cleaning his room (not out of sadness but disgust! It was really gross!)
- Cried because I couldn’t remember just how in-depth our “sex talks” were? Lord knows we can’t afford to be grandparents quite yet or have him come home and ask if that “thing” looks like a rash!
- Heavy sigh over whether or not he will take care of himself. Yet with the food plan we purchased he better come home a little chubby! (secret note-he can eat all the cereal he wants when he wants it at no extra cost! Uh SCORE!!!!)
- Cried just to cry, hey its my emotional breakdown I can do what I want!
Seriously though, it has been an adjustment and although there have been some wonderful, caring responses to my irrational dilemma there is definitely one thing I have learned through this entire process.
Dont tell someone who is grieving over their kid going to college to; Be Happy!
Note I said grieving. You see I have come to this conclusion after several days of watching Cody “ghosts” walking around our property. We parents who are sending our first born out into the world are in fact grieving.
Grieving or to grieve:
grieve verb \ˈgrēv\
: to cause (someone) to feel sad or unhappy
: to feel or show grief or sadness
Yeah that second definition fits pretty well!
So when a parent says: it’s just so empty without little Jonny at home. or I see little Jonny around every corner in our house or I feel like a part of me is missing without my son at home.
Responding condescendingly: Well aren’t you happy for them? I mean this is what you worked all those years for isn’t it? Is in no way the proper response.
Yes I am incredibly happy for them, ecstatic,, euphoric, jubilant, seriously over the moon! But that is not the point!
I am sorry if your plan was to have kids and ship them off the very moment they turned 18. Got your little tax deduction all those years and now OH BOY I see a new office in the house or that bar/game room the wife and I have always wanted! Well that wasnt me, it was never me. I had children because I wanted children. To be a part of their lives, invest in everything they do, watch with pride when they succeed and coach them when they fail. I had children hoping to leave a better legacy than before and something strange happened along the way. I fell in love with them first, parented them second and after they grew, became their friend.
My son means everything to me, I am incredibly proud of all he has accomplished, I know for a fact he will succeed at what ever he applies himself too. But he is still a part of me, he is still a face I look forward to seeing every single day. A smile and laugh that can erase even the harshest of days from burdened shoulders. I can’t turn back time and say yes to hunting trips when I had to say no, I can’t turn back time to sit a while longer in his room chatting about everything and nothing at all, I can’t turn back time and laugh while he annihilates me at Halo, I can’t do anything, but sit in his empty room, listen for a voice that’s not there, wonder how he is doing at that very moment and if it’s all he ever dreamed it would be. The sadness is not for him, the sadness is for me…
The only thing I can do is have a sense of humor and faith.
So as you run into these “newbies” yeah that’s right 5 days puts me in veteran status y’all! Tell them you understand, listen with compassion, feel their pain, and let them know you are there to talk if need be. Because they just shipped a human being that took 18 years of hard work, molding, love, dedication, devotion, grey hair, and lots of tears out into this world.
Turn on the news if that thought doesnt scare even a childless couple I don’t know what will..
Alright, enough sniveling. Be happy everyone!!!