dropping son off at college

<p>I've lost the thread where parents were posting about their experiences with dropping off their sons/daughters at college - so here's a loose posting about this.
We just arrived back today from taking our freshman son to ucla early for band camp. It's been tougher on us in some ways than we thought it would be. He's our only child, and although the kitties were waiting when we arrived home, it seems too quiet and empty. We had a good time at the school with him, waiting while he put his room together, then he wanted us to go with him to see where his classes will be. We parted at the band bbq, and I was able to remain cheerful and encouraging until we were a building away, then started crying. My H is also more emotional than I've seen before, except when pets have died! </p>

<p>I know this will all pass, and have gotten reassurance reading other parent's posts about their experiences, and how the first days and weeks are the hardest, but it improves. We are there, at the start. We were all close, spent a lot of time together at home, similar interests, so this will be quite an adjustment period.</p>

<p>He's emailed already to tell me about some things, and we had one phone call before we left LA, so I'm not worried about how he's doing, as I think he will be having a good time there. That's really what I think of to make myself feel better, that he is happy, and where he wants to be. Some other things that help are to think of the times we will get to visit, at parent's weekend, a football game, some music performances.</p>

<p>I'm glad to have a chance to write about this, and know other parents are going through the same thing. It's just so hard to be there for your child for 18 years, and then let them go suddenly, in one day, to be on their own. But I do have faith that he will do fine, and my husband and I will learn to accept this new part of our life.</p>

It IS a big adjustment for us moms (and dads!), and it's a gradual thing. Although my son is a sophomore this year, and in many ways I was READY for him to go back to school, but the strangest thing happended Saturday. I was at our Public Market (oh, it's so great) and I saw this tall, red-haired teenage boy that sort of resembled my son and I got tears in my eyes! It made me miss him -- he always liked to go to the market with us (food seeking as usual). Cripe!</p>

<p>Kira_mom, you are so not alone.</p>

<p>I am a single mom, and I was not prepared for the feelings I had when I arrived home sans son last summer. I knew he had to go but it was a difficult transition for me and I was kind of prepared since he had spent all his summers away since 9th grade. But no one is prepared. We just do our best as parents to let them go.</p>

<p>I got busy quickly last fall and wrote a book on family history. It took about 2 weeks to get over the quiet although now I kind of like it. But sometimes I don't and I remind myself to be thankful for small mercies!!!! It is fun to have him home once a year, and he stops by on the computer frequently. I have begun to see him as an adult. We have a different and better relationship now. Sometimes he asks for my opinion and I just say that I support whatever he decides to do. I slip in my point of view from time to time in the most unassuming manner that I can muster up. So it is o.k. Actually it is good. I mean isn't this what we wanted to happen all those years ago! :)</p>

<p>Thank you so much, Kira_mom, for starting this thread. I dropped my son off on Sunday. I'm a single mom, and my house feels so empty..even though we have 2 dogs & 3 cats to keep my company. I haven't heard from my DS and don't really expect to until maybe Sunday. His class has gone off for "frosh camp" for 3 days so he won't be in his room until this afternoon sometime. & though I've sent him a few emails, including pictures from the going away party we had on Saturday night, I don't reall expect him to respond. But I do keep wondering "what now?" So much of my life has been focused on him. It feels as though there is a huge open space ahead of me and I don't know what to fill it with or maybe its better to say I'm afraid of filling it. An opportunity has arise to take a scuplture class this weekend..do I dare? I'm so scared. I've loved my life with him. I almost think I'm scared he'll feel like I'm happy he's gone if I immediately fill it with all the things I dream of. And I know he's living his dream right now. So I hope its ok if I live mine too.</p>

<p>Take the class, Oaklandmom! Sons of singles need to know you are o.k. & doing well. :)</p>

<p>I just got back last night from returning daughter for soph year. Besides being exhausted - not as much help this year to schlep her stuff - I miss her terribly. This goes back to the other thread about disadvantages of being far away. I think I would feel a lot better if I could see her regularly every 5-6 weeks or so. I have a hard time judging over the phone and Internet whether or not she is doing well socially, and growth wise. I can only read her when I actually see her face to face, and I tend to fill in the blank spaces with dire assumptions that probably aren't true.</p>

<p>I was a little surprised with how bad I felt leaving her - heavens knows she and we were ready for her to get back to school, and we got used to her being gone last year, and I know she was happy eventually - I just need to adjust, but I don't have time because I have to keep with the DH and the DS.</p>

<p>cangel, try skype and a webcam for both of you so you can see her face! I bought my son a webcam to take with him..I don't know for sure he'll use it but I'm sure hoping he will. A friend has a son who has just gone off to graduate school and they use it everyday. I'm sort of trusting that our cats & dogs will be the hook that gets him to use the webcam so he can see them! </p>

<p>overseas, I signed up for the class right after I posted..today I have to go out and buy my supplies..oh, I'm still so scared to take the class but excited too.</p>

<p>There you go. I have signed up for Greek! Whatever it takes.</p>

<p>Webcams are absolutely wonderful!!</p>

<p>We get to "see" our daughter at least once a week, and it makes us feel so much better.</p>

<p>The funniest part about her leaving for college was how much she misses her 16-year old brother and how much he misses her. Those two fought like cats and dogs when they were home together, and now, they talk on the phone and webcam frequently. I'm amazed (and delighted). For years, I've been yelling at them, "SOME DAY YOUR FATHER AND I WILL BE DEAD AND YOU WILL ONLY HAVE EACH OTHER!" and they would look at me like I had two heads. Now they're closer than ever, and all it took was for her to go to college!</p>

<p>Weenie - I've done that before, too, when someone I've loved has been gone, and it must be a sign of the connection between us, that our minds are looking for the person and think they are there.</p>

<p>Overseas - You've made the transition to seeing him as an adult, which sounds like a valuable one for you both. The thought of only seeing a son once a year sounds hard though!</p>

<p>Oaklandmom - We do have to fill our lives with other things, don't we. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do, but my husband and I are going to try to play more music together, as our son filled the house with his piano playing, and we'll be trying to fill up some of that quiet. That's great that you are going to take the sculpture class! I know what you mean about loving your life with him - I feel the last 18 years with my son have been the happiest of my life, and now what? I just have to think there are more fun things to come, like visiting him at school, other people that he may bring into our lives, etc.</p>

<p>Cangel - It is a mixed bunch of feelings, certainly. </p>

<p>The webcam idea is a good one - but my son doesn't want to do it, an invasion of privacy for him, possibly.</p>

<p>We are all for the webcam idea too, but my son humorously tells us the first thing he'll do when he gets to his dorm is put tape over it. Too worried that Mom will say "Please pan the room" followed by "Isn't that the same pile of dirty clothes that was on the floor LAST week!?" </p>

<p>But then I remind him that if he wants the laptop to begin with... :)</p>

<p>Due to crazy circumstances, my 2nd year DD actually had a friend help her with the transport to college, none of the rest of us could do it. There were several friends moving in with other friends helping them, she seemed ot have lots fo fun and not really miss me :( I would have enjoyed the move in, it'salways a time for great talks, etc., but the timing simply did not work. I was so very relieved she had a great transition and did not seem to miss me.</p>

<p>Last week I got to stop by her campus as detour on a business trip. It was wonderful to see her settled in with a great corner room, 2 windows, lots of light, especially as compared to last year's dungeon dark setting. Her roommate and housemates are superb, a huge improvement over last year's unpleasant roommates. The best thing was when she told me the window of time she had available to see me, it was the first time I've ever visited and not had her want me to stay every possible moment. After a emotionally tough first year (though great on paper!) it was nice to see her engaged and having plans with people she likes and no tearful good-byes!</p>

<p>Just be thankful technology has improved to a state where you can inexpensively talk with your kid or read an email from him. </p>

<p>My secret for dealing with the empty nest? short calls and emails. 5 to 10 minutes every other day are great. A short email when I feel like it helps too. We talk alot but try to avoid running out of stuff to say. </p>

<p>Over time contact becomes a couple times a week because your child is growing up and making his way... that's a good thing.</p>

<p>Our DS left for school about 10 days. He left a few days early to attend a pre-orientation program so we put him on a plane and told him we would meet him in a few days. We finally did meet up with him on move-in day but really didn't get to spend much quality time with him. Not much time to move him in, run back to stores to get the stuff he forgot/needed, and try to attend some of the parent orientation. When it came time to say goodbye, his roommate was there, so it was just a quick goodbye. I didn't cry then, but sure did cry walking back to our hotel. Getting on that plane to head back home was a hard thing to do.<br>
For the first few days back home, I could convince myself that he was at work or out with friends and would be home soon. It took a few days for reality to hit. But I sure do miss him. He has called home twice, once to chat and once to ask for more money for textbooks. He sounds so happy when we talk that it does ease my sorrow about him being gone.
We did buy a webcam but we haven't seen him on-line since he left. He doesn't use AIM that much anymore so it looks like we may have to make plans for us to be online at same time so we can use the webcam!</p>

<p>Happy to see this post is still up and running. My youngest son left early Aug to start his freshman year, but my oldest son just started classes today so we moved him in this past weekend. I think I must have one of the latest starting kids out there, most everyone else's kids I know has been in class for a month or so. Anyway, I officially have no kids at home right now. Sure, my husband and dog are still there but no more "who is going to be home for dinner tonight", or "who has to work tonight" or "who takes out the trash this week". </p>

<p>A few observations of taking my oldest son for his sophomore year which is an 18 hour drive from where we live. Not as many family units helping kids move in, it's either mom OR dad, but not both. My son called me the "freak mom" since other kids only had dad helping with the move. I told him that most kids don't live as far away as we did and I know that he would want to spend every possible free moment with mom (kiddingly) before we drove off (you can imagine his response!). His room was on the 4th floor, 53 steps to be exact and of course no elevator in this OLD building. And this year he decided he wanted a futon, of course when he was on the 2nd floor he didn't want one, but now he did. He somehow got it up the steps with his roommate and assembled it without any problems. As for getting it down the steps at the end of the school year.......</p>

<p>Last year's goodbye was very tearful and emotionally draining, but this year I did not shed a tear. I am not sure that I was so tired going up and down 53 steps (I'm not sure how many times) or just the fact that he seems to really belong there (and all of those Welcome Home signs hanging up in the hallways really do make everyone feel at home!).</p>

<p>My youngest son is a 16 hour drive from where we live and he LOVES everything about his first year of colllege life so far. He has tried new activities and become involved in various clubs/organizations that have really opened his eyes to what the world can offer. I think the college has been wonderful about convincing the kids to do things outside their comfort zone in both classroom and free time activities. </p>

<p>I agree with OpiefromMayberry that technology has really changed parent/student communication. Between emails, cell phones and IM you can stay as connected (or at times disconnected) as you'd like.</p>

<p>I've figured out that between holiday breaks and school breaks (that are not the same for each kid) I will never go more than 2 months without kids at home. So, it's only 29 more days until parents weekend!</p>

<p>This sounds pretty corny, I know.</p>

<p>In a conversation the night before we drove our s (only child) to school, I told him that after "tomorrow'" nothing would ever be the same for either of us. I told him that I loved him, and that we would always be there for him Then, I told him---and this was the important part---that I had loved being his mother.</p>

<p>And, on the 14-hour drive to his new home, I reflected on that. I have loved being his mother. And I felt so grateful for the 18 years we have had together that there was not room for the grief that I had been feeling. He was going off to something wonderful, something that we wanted for him. The grief would have been for MY loss, and the gratitude I was feeling didn't leave room for that kind of grief.</p>

<p>I miss him. Very much. But this is a good transition....when we do our jobs as parents, we're supposed to "lose."</p>

<p>I'm not the confessional sort, but if this perspective helps anyone else, I would be pleased.</p>

<p>That's very sweet, mafool. It is our loss, not their's, when we miss them. And it is helpful to focus on the wonderful part, the new life they are creating.</p>

<p>Mafool - you made me cry with your touching entry. I too am missing my son.</p>

<p>awwww... it's okay, guys! They come back, and they come back, and they KEEP coming home. Holidays, intersessions, summers, post-graduate... they keep coming home. You ain't done being a parent, yet! ;)</p>

<p>You need perspective with boys though. When I left for college many years ago I said good-bye and headed out to the car to drive to another state. All was fine. It turns out I forgot something and went back into the house only to find my mother crying. I asked her why she was crying, completely oblivious that it could have anything to do with me leaving.</p>

<p>Keep this in mind if you find that your sons aren't sharing the same emotions you are.</p>