By the time our kids are ready to leave for college, we can’t wait to get them out of the house. While the years since they turned 13 had their precious moments, precious is not an adjective you would have used to describe your child’s general demeanor during that time. Obnoxious, maybe. Precious, darling, sweet, cheery, giving, sensitive, not so much. They’re not called “the teenage years” for nothing. Those three little words have a world of meaning for most any parent who has lived through them. And, for those who survive, the emotion resembles how a general must feel after he’s led his troops to victory. A bit scarred but, thankfully, not vanquished.
Yet, something happens the moment you stand face to face with your little darling as you’re about to hit the road to go home, leaving him to his own devices at college. You are so overcome with emotion, you can barely stand it. You miss him already. All of a sudden, he seems like a lost little boy, standing there alone. How will he function without you?
He’ll function just fine. Other then perhaps a little homesickness during the few few weeks, he’ll figure out how to brave his new world beautifully. It’s you you’ve really got to worry about. A house absent the arguments, sneers, closed–and slammed–doors, and frequent how could you be so dumb? looks, is an empty house, indeed.
My FOF friend, Lisa, told me a touching story about her FOF friend, whose daughter left for college for the first time this fall. “She told me every time she picked up a stray bobby pin in her daughter’s bedroom, she’d start crying. The bobby pins used to drive her crazy. Now, they’re turning her to mush.”
Soon, children will be coming home for the holidays, and moms across the land are dizzy with anticipation. They will hold their kids tight when they see them and attempt to smother them with kisses (although that is not even a remote possibility.) Family meals will be joyful. Togetherness will abound. By the third day, things will start to return to the way they were. And when the long holiday is almost over, moms will secretly be jumping for joy at the thought of their offspring returning to school. Once the kids are gone, they’ll pick up stay bobby pins and left-behind socks with little springs in their steps, ready to brave their new worlds.