When they fly the coop

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.

Ah, life!

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9 Responses to “When they fly the coop”

  1. Susan Jacobson says:

    When my son left for college the first time I cried so very hard. He was my inspiration many times. Then he would come home every summer to saty. I would look forward to this time with him. He is so intelligent and fun to be with. Last summer was the last summer to spend with him at home. He signed a full lease with his friends. I have my last child leaving soon… my baby. My husband and I have never been alone since we got together thirteen years ago. There is definately going to be a different household.

  2. Duchesse says:

    As the writer Peg Bracken once observed, “You raise them to the white carpet stage and then they’re gone.”

  3. Deborah Milne says:

    Such a true & heart-warming post Geri. That sly Lisa has driven me to tears; although not hard to do these days. I’m also laughing because even though my daughter Em left in late July, I STILL am finding bobby pins. Now, I put them in my pocket & carry them around with me.

    Thank you for posting, this has touched me.

    All my best to you Geri!

  4. Barbara says:

    Hi Geri,
    I just shared this with my two sisters! I know they will relate to EVERY word. Happy Holidays!
    Best to you, Barbara

    • Geri says:

      Hi Barbara,

      So happy you liked it and sent to your sisters. Happy holidays to you and yours, too!

      Love, Geri

  5. Renae says:

    Oh how I can relate, especially the early years of college. My oldest (25) just got married and lives on the opposite coast, I miss him so much and just asked if we could please get connected through skype so I can see his face. My other son is graduating from college next weekend and the sentiments of loving them when they are home but ready for them to get back to ‘their’ world so I can get back to mine rings so true.

    FOF Renae

    • Geri says:

      Hi Renae,

      Congratulations to your newly married son. It’s funny, even just seeing them for a few minutes is sometimes all it takes. Hopefully, Skype will do the trick.


  6. Lisa says:

    Geri this is so true. A great post describing the ups & downs & ups of parenthood.
    Wonderful visiting with you today!

    • Geri says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks so much. Loved visiting, too.



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