Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Doing Hard Things

We took him to college this past weekend. It's funny, being behind your teenager as he drives. One of his best friends went with him. Good thing, too. It was early in the morning and I'm sure the conversation kept him awake.

I'm so happy for where he is. The campus is reminds me of my own college, so pretty. It seems small although with 5,000 students, it is much bigger than my college.

We got him all set up in his room. I like knowing where he's going to sleep, where he'll brush his teeth, where his sock drawer is. We found the laundry room and were happy to see explicit directions on each washer about how the washers work. We met his roommate and his RA, and both seemed easy to get along with.

We toured the campus again, went to the bookstore a few times, had lunch, drove to Staples. But eventually we had to leave. Really had to. I was strong for most of the day (that you to many friends who were praying!), but as the reality started to creep back in, I really had to leave before I totally melted down.

{Are we really old enough to have a child in college? Why did we let our son do high school in three years? Who sends their 17-year-old off to college, anyway? Will he make any friends? Will he eat? Will he get up in time for his 8 a.m. class? Will he brush his teeth? Will I crumble up and die of heartache?}

Yes, I am wearing sunglasses in the photo because I am weeping. We are all trying to hold ourselves together. And then we left quickly after the last hug, because you have to walk away.

Three days later. This is the first morning I've awakened without my stomach in knots. I think I might not weep today. It's the little things that get me teary. Making 8 cups of coffee instead of 10. Accidentally calling one if his siblings his name. Not having to worry about backing into his car when I pull out of the driveway. Seeing his other best friend, who is still in high school, at Boy Scouts. Seeing his stuffed lionfish in his room, his old pal Vinny. Folding a shirt that got left behind in the laundry. Starting back to school in our home with two students instead of three.

It's all good—it really is. He's exactly where he should be, and we all know from the moment they are born that this time will come eventually, right?

Texting and cell phones make the process easier. He is eating. He has found people to hang out with at least for now. He found the gym and ran on the treadmill ("You ran on the treadmill? You've never done that before!" ""Um, we don't have a treadmill at home." Oh yeah.) So far he's made it to most of the orientation events, and classes actually start tomorrow.

I had to ask: "Are you homesick?"
"No," he replied. "Sorry!"

That's exactly the answer I needed.

Linked up with Tuesdays Unwrapped on Chatting at the Sky


  1. Again, bless your heart. This has me a bit teary. (((hugs))) Is it wrong that I have feelings of keeping my girls at home... And going to their classes with them? :)

  2. Those of us living through the itty-bitty stage of life have trouble imagining this moment. But we'll be there soon enough. Here smack in the middle--18 years after I went through this moment as a child, 13 years before I go through it as a parent--I can only say that he'll be terrific. Congratulations on this milestone!

  3. Bless your heart. I've been weepy all week about a 2nd birthday and here you are sending your child off to college. I'm glad he's doing well and found some friends and things to do when he's not in class. Kids just grow way too fast! I'm glad you're adjusting to the big change. =) I'm sure he misses you if he says he's not homesick.

  4. Lovely post. Your first picture brought tears to my eyes. And my oldest is only 9! Eeeek! Time will fly, I'm sure. Have you seen Toy Story 3? My sister went first and said she cried. I went with 7 kids and was determined that "I will NOT cry about a bunch of toys!" I bawled! Again, my oldest is only 9, so on second thought, maybe you'd better not watch it. Hang in there. Looks like he's in a great place. And I'm sure he'll miss you a little bit!

  5. I can only imagine. Our son is 20, stilling living at home. He works full time and goes to college part time. I remember when he got a car and was gone every night with friends until bed time and not eating dinner at home. That was hard. But as he has gotten older he comes home every night for dinner and spends more time with the family. I am glad I am having this extra time with him before he actually leaves home. I am sure as time moves on it will get a little easier. It is always hard to let go, especially when they are that young.

  6. My oldest is only 13. Okay, he turns 14 in a few days. This post had me in tears. I simply can't imagine this day and I KNOW I'll be a complete and total wreck. Praying for you!

  7. Oh Sarah. I am sorry. It is awful and wonderful at the same time. You two have prepared him and raised him well. He is mature and capable. I have no doubt that he will excel at this.

    As for my Saturday: I was really resenting Berea's orientation schedule until I read your post- we had about ten minutes total with him all day and "goodbye" was a hurried affair at a crosswalk as they sent him off to yet another meeting. Maybe their schedule made it a bit easier. I have managed to convince myself that this isn't any different from sending him to camp. As long as I don't dwell on what it really is, I am okay.

  8. I better start praying now for this day...because I will be an absolute slobbering mess. I will definitely have to wear sunglasses too. I don't even know your son and this post makes me want to just bust out in tears...anticipatory tears I guess.
    Just think though if you keep finding his clothes in the laundry, you can make a surprise trip just to take him all the things you "know" he could never live without. :)

  9. OK- I have got to stop reading your college posts about your son...I cry every time...

  10. Thanks, everyone, for your kind words! It really does get easier every day!

  11. (((HUGS))) My oldest is middle school age this year and I can't imagine what it will be like when she gets to this point. Right now she never wants to leave home and has requested to do college online. :-)

  12. Oh, I got tears in my eyes reading your post! I know I will blink and we'll be dropping Amber off at college. OK, tearing up again! I'm sure he'll be just great and have a wonderful year!


  13. bless you! not sure how i will handle this transition when it's my time but i think you handled it gracefully :)

  14. My oldest is in her third year and although it does get easier, my heart still aches for her to be home.


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