And Then They Were Gone: Leaving Home for College

It all happens in the next few days. After two and a half years of pondering the empty nest here at Grown and Flown, and eighteen years of dreading it, Mary Dell and I will bid our youngest children farewell next week as they are both leaving home for college. Mary Dell is threatening to bring home a new puppy and I am just now realizing that I should have had a fourth child.

College move in day, University of Denver

As we measure the time of departure in hours, rather than days, a montage of my youngest son’s life plays before my eyes. I am carrying him into school to pick up his older brothers and his sweaty sleeping body is nestled against mine. He is scoring his first goal and, as the ball dribbles into the net, he will trip over his own feet, face plant on the field and bounce back up grinning. We are in the ER and as I offer him my finger to bite as the doctor stitches his foot, he grasps my arm tightly but does not shed a tear. I drop him off at the high school for a summer orientation and he strides into the building without hesitation or even a backward glance at me. And then today, as we fill duffel bags with sheets and towels, I am both grateful and sad at how eager he is to leave.

One of the wonderful things about exploring the path to the Empty Nest is the way so many moms have shared their families’ stories with us. We asked a few moms to tell you what it was like when their kids left home and we urge you to share your story in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or give us a link to your story and we will include it below. As you read through the thoughts of these wonderful women, think of us because we are on our way!

Mindy Klapper Trotta The dropping off was not the issue, the coming home and looking at an empty room was more of a heartbreaker. Still don’t like to look when my kids visit and then leave. It all just seems so stark.

Kerry Flynn Barrett I will never forget the day I left my eldest daughter in Boston where she was to attend a program for kids with special needs to have a full college experience. It was 100 times worse leaving a young lady with special needs In a big city than sending off my second daughter in North Carolina which is about three times the distance. I literally felt paralyzed on the Massachusetts Turnpike as I apparently drove the car home. I don’t recall an exit I passed or a special sightseeing spot. I felt so empty, yet I knew it was the best thing for her as we all rationalize our thoughts are fears do. The memory that stayed in my mind and still does today is that I left her with the biggest smile on her face. As I look back, this was a crowning moment in both of our lives that I will never forget. She now happily resides in Cambridge.

Sharon Hodor Greenthal It was heartbreaking, even though I was so excited for my oldest to start. It was much easier with the second child.

Claire Dansby Our first to go to college had to be up at school for most of July for football conditioning….I guess a trial run so to speak. I am full of mixed emotions…sadness, joy, panic, excited for him to start the best four years of his life and sad that the best 20 years of my life are closing in.

Wendy Walker Cushing I was so full of excitement for her I could just squeal! Loved the whole experience of it last year! It’s been awesome!

Laura Fehl I have been preparing for this day all year. I know it will be hard as it has been my daughter and I for the past ten years! I am very appreciative of reading all of the feedback from this group! I know that my daughter will be fine and so will I, but not without tears! Stay tuned for my first thoughts. I am sure it won’t be much different from most of the other posts. It is just helpful to know that you are not going through it alone!

Barbara Solomon Josselsohn Funny enough, I felt pretty good when we drove off. I liked his roommate, I liked the dorm, I thought the college ran a great drop-off day program for parents and students, and I felt my son was in a very good place. It wasn’t until we got home that things became harder. Setting the dinner table without a place for him was the hardest thing of all!

Heidi Kachline Hanley The drop off of #1 seven years ago was hard. My other two kids teased me about how I would fall apart as we left. Although on the ride back it was my husband who had a tear roll down his cheek as he was driving us all home. He just said. “I wasn’t ready for that.” Dropping #3 on August 16 and as someone here said, proud and excited. I’ll miss him like crazy, but know it is as it should be!

College move in day, UWGB

Risa Nye My husband dropped off the first two, since I’d done the college tours with them and he hadn’t been on their campuses yet. But we both went with our “baby” when the time came. I don’t know, I guess we were all really prepared and excited, so when we did actually part ways (him to a student thing and us to the parking lot) it was a moment that signified a new beginning for all three of us. I just knew he would be happier at college than he ever was in high school, and that we were starting a new chapter too. I agree with Mindy that coming home was different–we took the leaf out of the kitchen table…really back to two after so many years.

Linda Snyder Long I drop my baby on August 19th, we live in Chicago, she’s going to AZ. I know she’ll do great and she’s so excited to go, it’s selfishly me! I will miss her so very much, she’s been pure joy to raise and the sunshine of our lives!

Camille Montesi Schaeffer It’s heartbreaking. I cried. Your family is never the same and the house is too quiet.

Holly McFaul up to the day a combination of abject fear and extreme pride for her. The day of nothing but pure joy and pride for her to reach her dream.

Cyndi Cervera Whitten Never try to talk and give last-minute instructions etc. while hugging them for the last time before driving away….

Jane Shrewsbury Hillis It was 1994 when we took our oldest to college. That morning before we left, I went in his room to wake him up and found the usual lump in the bed with head covered, yellow blanket on his pillow and Pooh bear under his arm…I know it sounds childish but it was what I loved about that boy. He slowly held Pooh Bear up in the air and announced, “Pooh, its time for you to find you a woman. I’m leaving & you have to stay.” Leaving the parking lot with him waving was just about the hardest moment of my life. Neither his Dad, nor two sisters, or I could say a word for the next two hours. For fear of losing it. We did and guess what? four years later he graduated and got married the same weekend. Two years later we had our first grandchild ( now a total of four.) So we think the trade-off was worth some of the tears!

Cindy Redd For my first son, I felt a huge separation from “our” world. It now seemed like HIS and then the life at home. I ALWAYS jumped at the chance to be a part of whatever I was invited to! And blessing the guys at college with food is ALWAYS a WIN/WIN!!! With my second son, I was shocked that I actually left him at his dorm room door after dinner, in the dark, in a BIG city before his roommate even moved in! I still remember the horrible feeling driving away! But they both settled in, called, texted, brought some friends home. And then the football games began!!!!!!!!!! Yes!!!!

Janet Runkle Wall I dropped my first son off five years ago – I kept lingering trying to “fluff his dorm room, but boys don’t like much “fluffing”! I felt proud of and excited for him, but very empty inside; tearful and sad. I drop off my 2nd son and youngest in three weeks. I have a feeling it will be very similar, except emptiness x 100! Not ready… #emptynest : (

College move in day, UWGB

Wendy Roever Nelson It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. My first thought was how was I going to make it until the next time I saw her. I think I was more worried about me than about how she would do. I was pretty sure she would be fine!

Andrea Viets My eyes have been threatening to spill over with hot tears for months (and frequently do). My son is so ready. I feel proud, happy and excited for him, and heartbroken for me. This is the end of his childhood. We will find a new way of being mother and son, I know – but oh how I shall miss these days and years of mothering him up close…

Suzanne Croce McGonigal I felt victorious, like we had achieved a goal as a family. We had delivered a child with many challenges finally to the point of starting college. When I returned him to college after Christmas break I felt that overwhelming emotional separation that most (moms especially) feel in the fall. I sobbed my way out of town on the trip home!

Jean Manos Andreacci With the first, I felt like I wanted to go to college again; with the second, he looked so forlorn, I was worried; with the third, I was concerned that he wasn’t ready; with the fourth, I knew she would be fine but I was lonely!

Lauren O’Donnell Weinstein To avoid the empty nest ..I got pregnant ..had 18 years between…so I got to start all over !

Annette Scolini Chastain When I took my daughter to University of Washington Seattle she was certain that is where she wanted to be. We are from Northern California. The night before I left to come home after we had gotten her all set up in her dorm she had a melt down. I knew I needed to stay strong but seriously considered packing her up and taking her back home. We decided she would stick it out one-quarter and then if it wasn’t working out we would come get her. I left with a lump in my stomach that didn’t go away for at least three days. Long story short she will be starting her senior year soon and we couldn’t be prouder of all of her accomplishments. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Stay strong

College Move in Day, Lafayette College

Vilma Sicilia-Sceusa As The Nest Empties  is a blog post I wrote about sending my daughter off to college. Love your blog!

Annemarie Favatella Enoch I made myself sick for a year knowing I would be dropping my son off at college, which was only 1.25 hours away. Now he is going to London to pursue his Masters and PhD. Who knows when he will come home.

Cheryl Nicholl I wanted to cry, and feel the loss, but we got a call from our daughter-at home (w/ her grandmother) who had just been caught giving a HUGE party while her grandmother was out. It was on Fox news. I. Kid. you. Not. So… instead I was screaming.

Julie Silverman Burton How To Say Goodbye: A Lesson From My Daughter ”

And finally like so much else about parenting, we don’t really know what it will be like until we are there.

Julie Warwick I drop my only child off  – four hours away! – on August 21st. I just keep trying not to think about it……I am excited for her but am going to miss her sooooo much.

Crista Cornwell McCormick Will let you know in twenty days

Linda Faucher-Swallow Will let you know in less than a month

Judy Lanoue Dudley 17 days away from dropping off my first at WVU. Will let u know

Becky Stone I will be dropping off my one and only child, my daughter, at ASU and then I’m moving to Utah! The kids are supposed to leave NOT the Mom! Who does that? Feel guilty but I guess I have to get on with my life like she’s getting on with hers. I will miss her soo very much!

So grateful for these heartfelt comments left below.

Becky Blades  I am trying to keep it light, because I’m in a house full of comedians. But the sense of immanent loss feels heavy today.

Patti just dropped off my first child yesterday and my heart is still very heavy. Honestly, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have enjoyed mothering him up close and now need to figure out how to navigate from a distance. He is ready to be on his own and I need to figure out to let him go.

Michelle I feel like I left a piece of my heart at my daughter’s college! I have the level headed mom on one shoulder and the emotional mom on the other. Emotional mom is winning. I am allowing myself to feel every bit of sadness I feel. I can say I was not prepared the overwhelming since of heartache that I feel.

Kathy Radigan I have three years before my first heads off to college and reading these accounts is breaking my heart! I know that it is wonderful for our children to be at the stage of life to start spreading their wings. This is what moms work for right? The whole point of our job is to get our babies ready to live on their own. But I want more time!!!

Alison at the Gracious Posse  I surprised our family with a puppy on Christmas Eve, and for the last few months my son has been calling the dog his “replacement.” I will have to shrink our breakfast table and find ways to keep from dwelling on the memories. At least the puppy will get me out of the house.

Nancy My mother passed away of Alzheimer’s several years ago, but was living with us when my oldest went off to college. She had moments of clarity at that point, and I will never forget what she said when we took him to school…”He will come home again, but it will never be the same.”

Debbie None of my daughters went close by and as I look back on it that was a very good move. Not only did they become independent and self-assured but they trained me to start a life of my own as well. And that I did. I work part time and went back to college and now am looking forward to attaining the long lost Bachelor’s Degree.

Melissa Lamke Beyond thrilled for both of our daughters as they begin their journey of becoming who they will become, heartsick as I feel like it is almost a death of my motherhood. I also have this overwhelming drive to recreate/nest our new, childless space- maybe it’s to lessen the feeling of the missing family members. I feel a need to make changes so that I don’t miss the old and familiar as much.

Annette Officially me and hubby aren’t empty-nesters as the older brother is back home after graduating and the oldest of our 3 sons bought a house, a mile down the road from us. So, not officially empty-nesters but still missing the youngest like crazy today and for weeks to come, I’m sure!!!

Normaleverydaylifeblog I will drop my oldest off in three days. There is a constant lump in my throat and I could cry at any minute. I know she’s ready, but it’s still hard. The best 18 1/2 years of my life and it’s hard to see that change!

Tanya  I want to redecorate/repaint my home. And that’s how I will distract myself for the first few months of this new chapter. After that, I can’t see where the road ahead leads. Honestly feeling a bit lost. But you put one foot in front of the other – what else is there to do?

Patti/KnowsyMoms Just said goodbye to our younger son. Of course, it’s not a final goodbye but today marks the end of 23 years with kids at home. That’s a big chunk of life and a big chunk of my heart. When I wrote about our older son going to college four years ago, I could not have anticipated what is now, truly, the end of an era.

Marisa Davis We noted a couple of engaging young men trying to find common ground with our son, so it was time to leave. Our son was ensconced and the cramped dorm room a comfortable mess. Husband and I drove to Martha’s Vineyard afterward and celebrated our success and the wealth of opportunities ahead for our son, for the people he would meet and those random late night conversations and events that would shape his life.

Laura Over the past couple of days, I keep remembering the look I saw in our son’s eyes as he hugged us goodbye; he was unafraid, proud to be there and ready to get on with it. Thus, maybe we do, indeed, deserve to take that victory walk. :-)

Janet We go tomorrow morning to take my first and only daughter. I can barely read the blogs without crying. I am so excited for her and so sad at the same time to be having her leave me. There I go again. I am sure eventually my eyes will stop leaking tears.

NKP And then there is the guilt…guilt that moving on is so hard, guilt that this is so silly to be sad about, guilt that this hit me so hard. Move on, I hear myself saying, take classes, hike, walk, meet friends, do projects, and sometimes I do. It’s just …different…hard…words don’t describe it adequately.

Janet  I cried over cheese yesterday – yes, CHEESE! I was making a grocery list and put the kind of cheese I use to make my son’s breakfast sandwiches in the morning before school and realized I won’t be doing that anymore!

Anonymous Our first just left last week. He has been a joy to raise. He has been a mentor to his younger sister, a calming influence to his brother with autism, and quite frankly… he has been co-parenting for a while with us. This has been the biggest adjustment of our lives, and its awful.

Melissa Wells  I wrote this last year when we dropped off our younger son and officially became empty nesters. It’s not so bad.

Mary Beth Dropping my only children off 4 hours away tjis weekend. I have identical twin sons who I adore. I’ve been preparing myself that its going to be hectic and busy moving them in. Im hoping to break down in car on ride home. We shall see.

 

Brian Rutter  Kept repeating The Circle Game in my head with each goodbye. Offered dumb platitudes/advice while the years crumbled away.

Nancy Wolf  Missing her already; younger bro in backseat, now solo kid, unhappy too!

Kate Boucher  the first time I was sick to my stomach. This one will be so much easier. Almost looking forward to it!

We would love for you to share your story about your child leaving home in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or give us a link to a story you’ve written. Thanks!

Photo Credits: University of Denver, UWGB (2), Lafayette College

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Comments

  1. says

    Thank you, my Grown and Flown mentors. I am inhaling your wise cyber oxygen – in the moments I remember to breathe. I am trying to keep it light, because I’m in a house full of comedians. But the sense of immanent loss feels heavy today. Thank you for sharing empathizing words from your wonderful network. Word by word, they convince me that it’s going to be okay.

  2. Patti says

    Just dropped my first child off yesterday and my heart is still very heavy. Honestly, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have enjoyed mothering him up close and now need to figure out how to navigate from a distance. He is ready to be on his own and I need to figure out to let him go. Do I text once a week; call several times a week to check on him. I don’t want to smother him but I also want to let him know that I am still here if he needs me. I know that one day soon I will know he is ok, but right now it hard. I just wish one of my friends had warned me about the overwhelming feeling of loss. Fortunately I have a dear friend who is feeling the same way so we are either pulling each other down into a much deeper depression or we are allowing ourselves to feel this real sense of loss and saving ourselves lots of counseling sessions. Best of luck to those who follow but you have been warned that it is tough. I should come back and post in a few months with hopes of letting you know there is a light at the other end of the tunnel.

  3. Michelle says

    I feel like I left a piece of my heart at my daughter’s college! I have the level headed mom on one shoulder and the emotional mom on the other. Emotional mom is winning. I am allowing myself to feel every bit of sadness I feel. I can say I was not prepared the overwhelming since of heartache that I feel. My friends have saved me! They say misery loves company and there may be some truth to that. But I also feel we are building each other up with our honesty of how we feel. This was so much harder than I ever imagined. I think it is looking at what is next for my life as much as the ache in my heart I feel from missing her! Level headed mom knows I will be fine but for now Honest Mom is just letting you know her honest raw emotion!

  4. says

    I have three years before my first heads off to college and reading these accounts is breaking my heart! I know that it is wonderful for our children to be at the stage of life to start spreading their wings. This is what moms work for right? The whole point of our job is to get our babies ready to live on their own. But I want more time!!! I don’t want it to go so fast! I feel greedy! Yet this ride is amazing and seeing my children grow and explore the world is a gift I’m so grateful to have. Thank you so much for a great post!

  5. says

    Just left my baby son at Vanderbilt yesterday morning after a kiss, cry and goodbye breakfast for the parents. Move-in day was gorgeous, and the school made it a breeze. He has two great roommates, and they our delighted with the media room feel they created. Our goodbyes, though, were made made darker and swifter with an incoming thunderstorm. I thought that stopping for two nights at the Homestead on the way back to Richmond would be a good transition back to our now empty nest, but here I am having visions of his younger face in memories of the times we took him here. I imagine the memories will only continue to fill my brain more since it won’t be so focused on his daily life. I surprised our family with a puppy on Christmas Eve, and for the last few months my son has been calling the dog his “replacement.” I will have to shrink our breakfast table and find ways to keep from dwelling on the memories. At least the puppy will get me out of the house.

  6. Nancy says

    My youngest of three just started her Senior year of HS, so I will be taking her to college this time next year. I cried with the first two, but think the last may be the hardest. My mother passed away of Alzheimer’s several years ago, but was living with us when my oldest went off to college. She had moments of clarity at that point, and I will never forget what she said when we took him to school…”He will come home again, but it will never be the same.” No truer words were ever spoken. She remembered the emotion of sending off her own kids.Yes, they will come home again, and you will still be a family.There will be new joys. But no, it will never be the same.

  7. says

    The hardest thing for me to do was bury my mom 25 years ago and the second hardest was letting go one by one of each of my children. I was a stay at home mom for 20 years. My youngest and 4th child was a freshman last year in college. The first one to go to college (a son) made a mess out of me. Deep inside I knew he wasn’t ready for college and my instincts were correct. It was an awful year and he ended up dropping out. I didn’t stop worrying about him for one second. He later joined the Marines and now lives a few towns over. The second child (daughter) who was very mature and had it together went to college in Washington, DC. (I am in CT) and again I was a mess worrying about her and just missing her. She had a rough year being homesick but ended up loving it. She now has her Masters in Social Work and is in Chicago. The 3rd child (daughter) is a senior at a college in Manhattan and the 4th a sophomore in Burlington, VT. None of my daughters went close by and as I look back on it that was a very good move. Not only did they become independent and self-assured but they trained me to start a life of my own as well. And that I did. I work part time and went back to college and now am looking forward to attaining the long lost Bachelor’s Degree. My husband and I enjoy the time alone and I kind of like the “empty nest.” We are making retirement plans and getting to know each other all over again. Having 6 adults in the house really can only last sanely for maybe a week at Christmas time. I realize as much as I didn’t want to let go, it was difficult with them all here too. It’s not easy to see them fly and we must remember it is a loss and we have to grieve. I gave myself time to grieve and now I am looking forward to the next stage of my own life.

  8. Melissa lamke says

    Both of our daughters left home only two days apart last week (one to start her freshman year and the other to finish nursing school). I have a very mixed bag of emotions: excited to discover a new and different relationship with my husband, beyond thrilled for both of our daughters as they begin their journey of becoming who they will become, heartsick as I feel like it is almost a death of my motherhood. I also have this overwhelming drive to recreate/nest our new, childless space- maybe it’s to lessen the feeling of the missing family members. I feel a need to make changes so that I don’t miss the old and familiar as much.

    • Tanya says

      Melissa – I am having the same reaction to my last child leaving tomorrow. I want to redecorate/repaint my home. And that’s how I will distract myself for the first few months of this new chapter. After that, I can’t see where the road ahead leads. Honestly feeling a bit lost. But you put one foot in front of the other – what else is there to do?

  9. annette says

    Just dropped the youngest off at school last night. It is his Jr. year but it was as sad as leaving him his freshman year. His brother was there with him for the first two years of college (which was his last 2 years of school and he graduated in May). So this is the first year that the youngest will be at college “alone”. I know, I know…he’s not alone. He knows everyone there, but he’s going to be there without his brother whom his is very close with. I worry they will grow apart this last 2 years of the “baby’s college years”. Oh, and officially me and hubby aren’t empty-nesters as the older brother is back home after graduating and the oldest of our 3 sons bought a house, a mile down the road from us. So, not officially empty-nesters but still missing the youngest like crazy today and for weeks to come, I’m sure!!!

  10. normaleverydaylifeblog says

    I will drop my oldest off in three days. There is a constant lump in my throat and I could cry at any minute. I know she’s ready, but it’s still hard. The best 18 1/2 years of my life and it’s hard to see that change!

  11. Tanya says

    Today is the last day with my younger son. We will fill our day with the chores still left undone and then tomorrow I will drive him to ASU and drive back down to Tucson alone. Like everyone else here I am happy for having raised a happy, healthy young man ready for college – but I’m so very sad at the thought of not having him around anymore. So distraction for me will be key to getting through the first month. Like Melissa Lamke said above, I will be feathering my empty nest by repainting and redecorating a couple rooms. After that… who knows. My busy season at work will begin and help distract me further but I am concerned that getting through my days through distraction isn’t quite right. I need a new beginning and so far I have no idea what that will be.

  12. says

    Just said goodbye to our younger son. Of course, it’s not a final goodbye but today marks the end of 23 years with kids at home. That’s a big chunk of life and a big chunk of my heart. When I wrote about our older son going to college four years ago (http://knowsymoms.com/weepy/), I could not have anticipated what is now, truly, the end of an era. (http://knowsymoms.com/end-of-an-era/). These are the poignant moments of life being lived, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

  13. Marisa Davis says

    We sang show tunes (poorly and loudly) in the car all the way there, me, my husband and my son. Tried to keep conversation light and fun. Ironically, our son was in the same dorm (barely updated) that I lived in eons ago. We knew that our job as parents was to promptly disappear since other students were well settled in. We noted a couple of engaging young men trying to find common ground with our son, so it was time to leave. Our son was ensconced and the cramped dorm room a comfortable mess. Husband and I drove to Martha’s Vineyard afterward and celebrated our success and the wealth of opportunities ahead for our son, for the people he would meet and those random late night conversations and events that would shape his life.

  14. Laura says

    We dropped our son off at Westminster College in Missouri this past week. The first moments out of the parking lot were simply gut wrenching. When we arrived back at the hotel at which we were staying your newsletter arrived in my inbox with the article about how not to be THAT Mom. “Oh dear,” I thought, “Do I dare read this now?” I was petrified that I had blown it. After reviewing the post, I gave myself a B. I had not made an idiot of myself or embarrassed him with hysterical crying (that came later), and with the exception of the placement of the Texas flag on his wall, I let his room be his room. I couldn’t resist, however, the temptation to give last minute advice regarding the importance of going to class, although I did it via text and not in front of his roommate. I asked my husband to read the article and grade my performance. God love that man….he gave me an A. Over the past couple of days, I keep remembering the look I saw in our son’s eyes as he hugged us goodbye; he was unafraid, proud to be there and ready to get on with it. Thus, maybe we do, indeed, deserve to take that victory walk. :-)

  15. Janet says

    We go tomorrow morning to take my first and only daughter. I can barely read the blogs without crying. I am so excited for her and so sad at the same time to be having her leave me. There I go again. I am sure eventually my eyes will stop leaking tears. But until then… I will just keep moving forward the best I can.

  16. NKP says

    No one tells you about the quiet. The washer doesn’t run as much because there aren’t as many clothes to wash, the dishwasher doesn’t need to be run, also for lack of dishes, there is no music coming from her laptop while she watches a video, her voice is not there as she takes her calls from various friends, and there are no calls telling me I forgot to buy more Oreos or discussions about why Froot Loops aren’t really good for breakfast. She was the last of my three children to leave. I am truly now an empty nester. And my heart has a hole.
    Yes there is joy and excitement and so much pride I feel I could pop. She calls and we text and I get to experience all her new found experiences, even though she is on the opposite coast. And there is glee.
    And then there is the guilt…guilt that moving on is so hard, guilt that this is so silly to be sad about, guilt that this hit me so hard. Move on, I hear myself saying, take classes, hike, walk, meet friends, do projects, and sometimes I do. It’s just …different…hard…words don’t describe it adequately.
    Thanks to blogs like this, it helps to read what other parents are experiencing. Life goes on…and that is good.

    • Janet says

      NKP – wonderful post. Thank you. Rings so true.

  17. Janet says

    We leave in the morning, but just had to check this blog real quick to get the emotional support from other mothers in the same boat! I cried over cheese yesterday – yes, CHEESE! I was making a grocery list and put the kind of cheese I use to make my son’s breakfast sandwiches in the morning before school and realized I won’t be doing that anymore! Sigh… This will be quite the adjustment…

  18. Anonymous says

    Our first just left last week. He has been a joy to raise. He has been a mentor to his younger sister, a calming influence to his brother with autism, and quite frankly… he has been co-parenting for a while with us. This has been the biggest adjustment of our lives, and its awful. The only thing that gives me peace is knowing that he is so ready for college , courses, plans, etc. Word of advice… he is ok, but when he sees me lose it, it just doesn’t make sense to him. I love him, I miss him, we love him, we miss him, and we know that it will never be the same.

  19. MaryBeth says

    Dropping my only children off 4 hours away tjis weekend. I have identical twin sons who I adore. I’ve been preparing myself that its going to be hectic and busy moving them in. Im hoping to break down in car on ride home. We shall see. I broke down with their counselor during orientation months ago so its a toss up. If ill mae it! I decided to start college myself so im hoping that will help me being busy and keeping my out if the lonely house when they are gone.

  20. says

    Sending my youngest off to his senior year of college this weekend. What I’ve learned from my years as a college parent is that we all survive the experience and it is amazing to watch your child become an adult. Enjoy it all because time really does fly.

  21. jeannie says

    Just sent both of mine back to college after them being home for summer….each time they go back, I still cry…..the night before they leave, I still have that same dreaded feeling in my stomach as the night before each left for college for the first time. Realizing that you are coming to the end of an era of childhood and wonderful memories and crazy moments and starting a new era with your children watching them move into the world but also realizing you are a little more distant this time. I went into both their rooms last week on their last night home after they were asleep and saw them both curled up in their usual positions they slept in from childhood with their own special “blankets” and it made my heart ache…..a flood of memories came through of reading to them in bed, listening to their stories of the day before they fell asleep, and long talks some nights about the dilemmas of being a teenager. And then the next night, their rooms are empty again and it is so hard to walk into them. So fortunate to have such wonderful times with them still and have such great memories……but is always bittersweet when they leave!

  22. Regina says

    After graduating from college 3,000 miles west (good job kid) in a few weeks he leaves for graduate school school 3,000 miles east.
    My son is a wonderful young man but not a tidy fellow—-I am wondering how I can get an entire array of household cleaning supplies to him without it seeming very odd and breaking the bank.
    So, he leaves again and I am thinking dust mops, Comet, Windex, rags & etc.
    A different level of leaving I guess.

  23. says

    I have two teenagers and a blog myself so I really appreciate Grown and Flown! Thank you so much for all the articles on sending kids to college. It is such a bittersweet time. I know my son will have an amazing experience but my heart isn’t quite ready to let him go. I posted on my blog about exactly this at http://www.onesaltykiss.com Thank you again for all the support. It’s nice to know as parents we aren’t alone!

  24. coleen says

    I am a single mom about to send her only child off to college and am so glad I found this site! thank you for making be feel better about this life change and for inspiring me on how to deal with it.

  25. says

    Wow, these stories are amazing to read. A child leaving for college can be such a difficult transition!

  26. says

    My oldest son left for college 2 weeks ago. It has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. I have a younger son who just started high school and having him around made it bearable. What am I going to do in four years when he leaves? This experience got me to thinking about the future and life without my kids in my home. Where did the time go? I’ve learned several things. You have to stay connected with your spouse. You have to have your own life and you have to plan for the day when your kids start their own journey.

    The hardest part was after we returned from taking him to school. I woke up in the middle of the night and realized that he would not open my door that night and say “I love you mom, I’m home.” Thank you so much for this post. It helps.

  27. Victoria Seaman says

    Dropped off my youngest 6 days ago. Dreaded it, but after facing my husband’s cancer, and the deaths of my mother and father this summer, there is some perspective that this is a good parting. It means he is being successful in life. He remains in my life in some capacity. Still, there is a grieving process for the loss of the identity of caretaker/mother/daughter that I’ve had for 21 years and for the loss of my youth.

Trackbacks

  1. […] It all happens in the next few days. After two and a half years of pondering the empty nest here at Grown and Flown, and eighteen years of dreading it, Mary Dell and I will bid our youngest children farewell next week as they are both leaving home for college. Mary Dell is threatening to bring home a new puppy and I am just now realizing that I should have had a fourth child. Leaving Home for College […]