I hated it when my boys went off to nursery school. I was never one of those mothers who thought 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 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 from my son’s dorm rooms I knew our family had changed. Forever.
Friends told me how great it was when their kids had left home. They assured me that I would feel enormous pride watching them become independent adults. They promised me that this pride would outweigh the sadness. Not for one second did I believe the urgings of my wise friends, but in the spirit of seeking the illusive silver lining I have started my list:
- Finally discovered my youngest child who had been buried under a pile of loud large older brothers. Turns out he is a charming kid and I am glad I got to meet him once the crowd had dispersed.
- I am not on a first name basis with every checkout clerk at the A&P since I am only there once or twice a week. I miss our daily exchanges on coupons and discounts, but I am getting over it.
- I would like to worry where my boys are at night and when they will be home, I would like to obsess on every scary thing that can go wrong, but it simply isn’t practical with them living in other cities. So my worrying load has been lightened considerably.
- My car seat is always adjusted to my short legs and the radio station is at a decibel level appropriate for the human ear. I never turn my car’s ignition and hear hiphop.
- My sons are on all-you-can-eat meal plans at their universities and undoubtedly eating more than I have paid for. I am sure that I am making money off this arrangement.
- When they are home their tone has changed entirely. They have gone from complaining about the one thing I forgot to get at the grocery store to marveling at the cornucopia that is my refrigerator. Home is full of newfound marvels (e.g. clean sheets, real coffee, Ben and Jerry’s, and cars with full tanks of gas) and I have been transformed from “she who nags” to purveyor of those marvels. Think I traded up.