Lisa writes: After high school, many of our kids go on to college. Unlike in other countries, this transition is made seamlessly and without more than a summer break. We send our eighteen year olds off to their next stage, often without knowing if they are ready to go. Many have the option to stay home and attend a local university or community college but legions march off into dormitories every year for their first real taste of living alone.
When my older kids made this journey, I was, at first, unsure as to whether they were ready to go. I looked at them over their high school years and could not fathom their independent life. But then things began to change.
How did you know your kids were ready to go?
Gabby, a Grown and Flown Writer, sent us this post as she prepares for the holidays:
My youngest child complained recently that we don’t make as big a deal of Christmas traditions and celebrations as we did when her older brother and sister lived at home. Ironically, it was just about the time I had decided to skip decorating the house for Thanksgiving, something I have always done. And since we planned to be away for Christmas, I was also entertaining the notion of a “quieter” version of Christmas lights and decor. Continue reading
“You will miss me the most.” my last child surprised me by saying, “Because after I’m gone it is going to be really, really quiet here.” And there it was, the truth out of the mouth of a sixteen year old, a truth that summed up so much about parenting. There is something special about eldest children. We don’t love them any more than the others, but it is their very existence that changes us from self-absorbed young adults into doting parents. Speaking for myself, no one person ever transformed my life so dramatically. But my youngest son has a point, his departure will bring a similar, massive change to my life. My oldest child may have made me a parent but my youngest child will make me an empty nester. Continue reading
Mary Dell writes: Long ago, our house became one of the favorite destinations for the kids’ playdates and we have a big, brown, furry family dog to thank. During our 20+ years of marriage, we have actually owned four (!) chocolate Labrador retrievers beginning with our engagement gift puppy to the dog who joined our almost empty nest two years ago.
Of all the dogs, though, Argus, a Christmas present to our then six-year old son, was the rowdiest, matching up in temperament perfectly with the pack of energized little boys who came over to play. As he trained his unruly pal, our son gained a playmate and confidante, alarm clock and buddy; in fact, he gained a brother. The years of puppyhood, with chewed possessions and indoor “accidents,” are distressing. But witnessing your grown child saying goodbye to a now-aged dog as he leaves home for college Continue reading
Lisa writes: I have been preparing for the empty nest for two decades. I hated it when my boys went off to nursery school. I was not one of those mothers who thought sleep away summer camp was a great idea. So when two of my three children went off to college in quick succession, I feared that this might not go very well. For me.
As I moved them into their dorm rooms, I just about held it together, yet I drove away from each of their schools with tears streaming down my face. I was sad for me but more I was sad for our family. Many moments of unalterable change are not apparent until long after the moment has passed. Within ten steps of walking away Continue reading
From Gabby, a Grown and Flown writer: In the spirit of saying goodbye to your child, we college parents want to assure you that “goodbye” isn’t for long….
My witty sister-in-law coined the expression “Forced Family Fun” when referring to the mandatory family gatherings in which she requires her reluctant teens to take part. It has entered our family vernacular as we try to gather together all of the cousins, even those who are less enthusiastic about the “togetherness.” Continue reading