last week was one hell of a week. forget the earthquake and the hurricane, don’t mention the tornadoes spawned from irene. last week (and some of this week) was drop your kid off at college week – a unique kind of natural disaster.
the angst factor was pretty well up there last week for friends and loved ones who were the drop-ers. (i’m not being smug, i’m probably being fuzzy, our first drop off was over a decade ago) it’s another one of those parent milestone things that you know you have to go through and you think you’re prepared, but it still whops you in the face.
our first one didn’t move very far, but the sensation of having one less child living in your house is still startling. there’s a lot to get used to that’s easier to get used to if you’re still fretting and shuttling two others who are still at home.
dropping off the second one got more painful, partially because she picked a school that was 4 ½ hours away from home and partially because with two out of three gone, the house really did get a lot quieter.
our third didn’t go far away, but losing the last of three was pretty jarring. suddenly it’s just the two of us again, like when we were first married. (we didn’t have a lot of time alone as newlyweds so we’ve spent most of our lives with the chaos and hustle of family life)
but now i’ll get all philosophical and say things that are designed to sooth the sadness of when a child leaves home. and it won’t make much of a difference. because, like all the other parent/kid transition things, it’s going to happen and you don’t have a choice in the matter. time will pass and you’ll get used to it.
they’re not gone forever, they’re still a big part of your life and you’re still a big part of theirs, just in a you-don’t-have-to-remind-them-to-do-anything-or-clean-anything-up kind of way. they can be annoyed with you in their own dorm room or apartment, you don’t have to hear them slam the door. they still like some of your cooking, they’re good cooks themselves and maybe they’ll invite you over. and their taste in wine and beer gets better.
for me, what probably hurt more than the quiet/empty house was the realization that the kids (i still get to call them kids) at the beginning of their lives and i’m on the other end of mine. (that, and that college is a hell of a lot more fun now than it was when i was there and that i should have just relaxed and had more fun while i was there)
so maybe it’s time for mom and dad to start throwing parties and enjoying keggers. that’s one way to fill up an empty house.