Recently, while attending our youngest son’s university parent orientation for incoming freshmen, I had to make a visit to the restroom during the parent transition talk. Unfortunately the older I get, the smaller my bladder gets. As I hurried through the process and stepped out of the stall to wash my hands, a woman said out loud, to me I guess, “Just smack me, I can’t stop.” I was taken aback and it took me a second to realize she was dabbing her eyes with a tissue and crying. After asking her if she was ok, I gave her a knowing look and nod with a tear in my eye and rushed back to my seat. Otherwise I would have been overcome with tears and sadness and missed the rest of the program. This random flash bonding made me aware of how normal my feelings have been as of late. Envisioning myself as “that mom” who burst out sobbing in front of a room full of strangers , I made a note to myself not to attend the breakout session on parent separation.
Somehow I managed to keep my composure throughout the rest of the day. That is until dinner time when we returned home to an empty house. With one son at college and the other son leaving soon and not home for dinner, I started to cry. My poor husband…I knew he felt my pain too but in a manly sort of way. I knew nursing wine with my dinner and my monthly hormonal imbalance did not help my state of mind. But still I kept sipping and sobbing. I then texted my sister-in-law who had just dropped off her daughter, my niece, at college too. Misery loves company! Good thing we stuck to texting because my voice had turned nasally and I didn’t sound like myself from all the crying.
Since that day my husband and I moved our other son into his dorm. I know some of our friends cheered as their children left home but I could not imagine how different our lives would be without our two sons living under our roof. For 20 years our lives have been so intertwined and connected that I couldn’t quite grasp their departure. And both our sons leaving in the same summer to two different locations! Have mercy. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited for their rites of passage, just having those normal bouts of sadness and needed a bit of a pity party about their moving out. Now that I got that out of my system for now, time to put on my happy face & big girl panties and be strong for their sake! After all this is way harder on the parents than their kids.