The winter break is over and my freshman is headed back to school. No one tells you how hard it is when they leave after a weekend or extended break at home. I knew dropping her off in August was going to be difficult, but no one told me that each visit can be just as hard to say good bye as the first time, sometimes even harder.
There are endless articles written about when the time comes for your child to leave for college or after extended breaks at home. Most seem to focus on the feeling that everyone is ready to pack up and get out. Counting down to August drop off and parents being ready to slow down as they drive up to the dorm and push their kids out of the car with their stuff as they keep going. This feeling seems to extend to the long break between semesters and during the summer when students are home for extended lengths of time.
I have to say that I don’t feel this way at all, and I know that I am not the only one.
I had expected drop off in August to be difficult, but what took me for a loop was that after parents weekend I was worse than the August drop off. I was expecting the long awaited parents weekend to be like camp visiting day. There have been pictures on bunk one on a regular basis of your happy camper with some letters and calls in between confirming what we see in the pictures. This is all leading up to seeing them thriving in their home away from home. You feel content with the fact that all is good and now you can relax for the rest of the summer after visualizing your child’s daily routine and their peeps who they can’t bare to live without. I thought it would be the same satisfaction leaving from parents weekend. I figured that the weekly Facebook updates of weekend events were comparable to bunk one pics, that texts were bits of info like the camp letters, and the brief phone calls on the way to class were like the weekly calls from the camp office.
I was thrilled to see my daughter happy in her new home. She was thriving in all aspects of college life. I thought this would put me in a content place where I knew she was really good and then I could just carry on as I knew she was in the right place. As we were leaving for the airport and saying goodbye the wave of emotion that hit me was unexpected. Leaving was was more difficult than the first time and each goodbye since then sets me back a few steps. I see how much she is growing and how she is independent in a whole new way.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing!!!
Why is it that no one tells you that you are going to feel like this every time they leave?! I am sure that not everyone is counting the days until their kids head back to school. Yes, there is more chaos, laundry, cleaning up, grocery shopping, and everything else that needs to get done, but having everyone in one place makes me feel complete. I treasure the time we spend together and am always looking forward to the next time we see each other. I look forward to the Facebook and Instagram posts on Sundays to give a snapshot of the week in review. So for all of you who want to slow down and drop off your kids, there are just as many of us who want to park the car and have lunch before we say goodbye.
As this extended winter break comes to an end and I anticipate yet another send off, I know she is going to her happy place and I am happy for that. I will take a day or two to regroup and will be looking forward to our next time together.