And he’s off….

Yesterday was the big day – we took Andrew to college. He’s attending the University of Maryland. He’s going to be living off campus for the first year (its about a mile away) because he was admitted to the spring semester, not fall, but signed up for a new program called Freshman Connection. Basically, its all the same as a regular fall semester admit, but he can’t live on campus. We found, through the school, a nice student apartment. His floor is all Freshman Connection kids, and he shares an apartment with 3 other boys. He has his own room and bathroom, and they share living room and kitchen. The building was just opened, and its beautiful.

OK, now that I’ve given you the basics, let me tell you about the day. He finally did pack up on Friday, and by Friday night the car was packed and ready. It was very full. We left Saturday morning about 8:00 – Cieara came with us, so she and Andrew were a bit squished in the backseat. It took us 4 hours to get there plus a stop for lunch, and I think we were all quite happy to get there and get out of the car.

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After some confusion about what tower he’s in, and how the elevators work (card access only!), we found his apartment. His roommates were already moved in, and we got to work bringing his stuff up.

We helped him unpack, and I made his bed. And it hit me. This was it. This was where we change our relationship. This was the beginning of his life without me. All summer, I really didn’t think about it. I was more concerned with the logistics – did he have everything he needed, did we pay the tuition bill, what food plan should he have, would he clean up his room before he left (answer is no!). But yesterday, looking around his new room, I realized that now he will have experiences and adventures that I will never know about. He will do things, meet people….live his life and I will probably only know some small percentage of it. He’s ready for this, and once he gets used to being there, I know he will do very well. But I’m not sure I’m ready for it.

It was terribly hard to leave, and for the first time, I didn’t knit on the way home. I sat there thinking about Andrew, and our life together. About the time he had to go to the hospital when he was 3 months old for a week because he had an infection. Or how he cried when he was 4 because he was too young for baseball…and they let him sign up because he was so upset. Or how for an entire year he watched Lion King everyday, and wanted to change his name to Simba. I thought about this last year, and how he changed so much. He fell in love for the first time, and started to come out of his shyness and ended up in the school musical. And I realized how much I’m going to miss having him around the house. I knew I would, but just not how much.

Coming home was so hard – his empty room. Although most of his stuff is still in it, it just feels empty. Yes, I’ve been through this before, and I remember feeling the same way when Dan left. But each time one leaves, it makes me realize how fast their childhood goes, and how your place in it changes from center to satellite. I didn’t sleep well last night; something was different about the house and I kept on waking up to think about it. And I’m sitting here crying a little this morning, and wondering how often I should call, and can I sound cheerful on the phone so I don’t make him sad. He was lonely last night – missing his girlfriend, and I suppose, his home and family. And although I wanted to drive down and give him a hug, I tried to be as up-beat as I could, and reassure him that he would be fine.

But even while I’m sad for me, I’m so happy for him. I know he’s going to enjoy this school, and that he will make friends and do wonderful things. And that its a good thing for him to start his own life. He’s a great kid, and I know he’s going to be succesful in any way he defines success.

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Bon Voyage, Andrew! Smooth sailing…..

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7 Responses to And he’s off….

  1. Sue J. says:

    Just to let you know that I found your words very profound and very eloquent. I’m another mother who went through the same thing you are experiencing this weekend. God bless you that you didn’t cry all the way home like I did. This is a natural transition, and it’s harder on you than it is on your son. And the feeling really never goes away-it just changes. Now is the time for you to trust in your son and the way you and your husband raised him. I could give you all the platitudes like “this, too, shall pass,” etc. But just know that so many of us have been through it and understand and remember. The nice part is that now you and your hubby start to get smart, again, in your son’s eye. And by the time he graduates, you will be the two intelligent human beings you were before adolescence and puberty set in. Blessings to you during this time of transition and growth.
    Sue J.

  2. Susan says:

    Jeanne, You said it so well. I leave little short daily emails for mine so he knows he’s in my thoughts. I have not called yet. I will next weekend. On a happier note, our meal plans have changed at home. My youngest son (high school freshman) will eat anything, the one who left for college was really picky. Now I can make one meal and know everyone will eat it.

  3. lobstah says:

    Oh gosh, what a beautiful piece you wrote, Jeanne. It brought back a lot of memories of when my parents dropped me off at college (over 10 years ago already, oy). Time does fly too quickly…

  4. Amber says:

    That was such an eloquent and beautiful post. My boys are still very young (4.5 and 14 mos.), but I’m already finding myself dreading the day when they’ll go off to college. Okay, some days, when they’re both driving me nuts, I may dread it a little less than others 😉 — but, I have come to realise how bittersweet it all is.

    Last year my oldest started preschool, and when he bounded off to play, with barely a look back at me, I felt sooo proud of him, but I also drove home with a lump in my throat.

  5. Rebekah says:

    What a sweet post, not being a parent, I cant even imagine what it must be like, but I know it was difficult for my sister when her son moved out last year.

    It’s another stage of life.

  6. Terri says:

    It’s tough being a parent sometimes isn’t it. I’m a grandparent now too and that adds a whole new dimension of worry and concern! This is a new dawn for your son, but also a new one for you. :o) Make of it what you will.

  7. Elspeth says:

    I would love to do the same thing for my son in 8 years – I loved going to Maryland!

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