Comforts ~ Day 12 Or Can I Type Through My Tears?

Governor General of Canada visits Victoria

Governor General of Canada visits Victoria (Photo credit: BC Gov Photos)

Today we start packing. Tyler, my youngest son, is going back to college a week early to get organized, meet his counsellor, and look for a part-time job. This is the third time he has left for school. The first year was hard, but I was excited for him. The second year was hard but I was glad he was continuing his education. This third year—it is still hard. But, nevertheless, I have found some things to be grateful for:

1. He has become an independent being, able to do his own laundry, cook for himself, and schedule his time. He is not perfect with all these things—but neither am I, and I have had more practice.

2. I will continue my tradition of  writing my little emails to him every day. The Governor General of Canada did the same thing when his girls were in post-secondary school, so I figure that gives me the freedom to do the same.  I know that the only responses I will get will be “meh”, or when I ask him to write back, he taps this little note to me: “back”.

3. I am grateful  that he is just on the other end of the phone and that I am one of his frequent ten phone pals (so not only is the call free, I take this as a sign that he “likes” me.)

I am happy that he is going to school – I truly am. And I know that at 21 it is not unusual for kids not to live at home—they have a whole world out there waiting for them. But I often wonder where the heck did the time go? One day they are trying to get a bird to land on their hand (oh, the innocence of little ones) and the next they are flying free themselves.

The worst part of this whole exercise is after we have helped him move into his home away from home. When we take our leave, he always stands in the driveway and waves at us until we are out of sight. This gets me every time (yes I am tearing up as I write this), but I have done it many times before and I will do it again.

Grateful thing number 4 just for today: I still have him home for two more days!

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Published in: on August 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm  Comments (46)  
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46 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thinking of you, Lou Ann. I know this must be tough. My sis will be going through this in about a year. Her son graduates h.s. and will be going away to college.

    Good luck and know that it’s just the natural order of things, right? Of course you know that, you’re a mom.

    • natural order of things sucks sometimes – but I am trying to be the grown up here

  2. Thinking of you and sending big hugs your way.

    • thank you sweetie – appreciate it – someday you will be doing this – but you have awhile to bask

  3. I am so glad you visited my little blog – because now I’ve found your blog! Bonus! I had to drop my kiddies off at camp for 2 weeks and it wrecked me – can’t imagine what the college drop is like. Although you are right – and should be so happy and proud of him.

  4. I can’t even imagine how it will feel…I have 2 more years before I have to visit this part of life. Hang in there.

  5. Beautiful post.

  6. Ok, now you’ve done it!! I am barely holding on each day because my oldest is starting his first year of college in 11 days and we move him into his college residence in Kitchener in 9 days!! Some days I’m ok but other days I have major panic attacks, and today is one of those days. It’s even worse because he has a medical condition, and I will worry even more about him as a result. And he is becoming so independent that he says he’s not coming home on weekends and doesn’t want to have to call me all the time :(.

    Then I had to read your beautiful, heartfelt post about your son, and I almost started crying at work!! Oh well, at least now I know someone I can ball my eyes out with :). You are really going to have to give me lots of chocolate chip cookies now!! Good luck to your son and a hug to you!

    By the way, I only just realized that you are a fellow Ontarian. No wonder we get along so well!!

    • chocolate chip cookies do not solve the problem, but they are still good to have in sad situations
      email your son every day – mine doesn’t really want me to, but I think secretly he looks forward to them
      I live in southwestern Ontario near Windsor – Ty is leaving for London

      • We live in a tiny town north of Orangeville and Bryan is going to Conestoga College in Kitchener. Our sons will actually be very close to each other. What a small world :).

        Bryan and I spent some time this afternoon going over what we have packed up so far and there is a TON of stuff but he needs to bring everything because he doesn’t have a roommate. What the heck do you do with all of it in the summer in between years? LOL

        I guess you probably have good and bad days too right? Today is definitely a bad day for me. My heart just feels like it is going to burst :(. Oh well, there’s not much I can do about it. All I can say is thank goodness for the internet and phones!!

      • You really are not that far away. As for what do we do with the stuff in the summer – Ty has to rent his house from Sept to Aug (ugh and expensive) so he leave some of his stuff there – the rest of it is strewn all over the upstairs–the only little good thing about him going back is we will have our hallway back.
        Some days are bad; I know next week I will be wandering around wondering what is wrong then it will dawn on me – I am not sure why these things have to be so hard–but my son is glad we miss him–some of his friend’s parents sort of kick them out of the house

      • Ya Bryan is trying to be Mr. Independent and says he won’t miss home, but I think he will :). Thanks for listening. I’m sure you understand living in a house of males – they just don’t understand!!

      • poor guys don’t understand themselves – he will miss you – they just don’t like it to show–I am here for you–I have lived in a house of males for 26 years.

  7. I am reminded of how my mom felt like when I moved out to go to college, then my siblings every year after that. Sometimes she would shows her sadness with quiet tears but mostly she kept it herself and manages to smile. I know one day, when my son grows up, my turn will come. I agree, “I know that at 21 it is not unusual for kids not to live at home—they have a whole world out there waiting for them. But I often wonder where the heck did the time go? One day they are trying to get a bird to land on their hand (oh, the innocence of little ones) and the next they are flying free themselves.” Beautiful. I wish you , your son and family all the best!

  8. I never had to face the moving away to go to school as both my girls attended local universities, they were always at home……it must be hard Lou. Sending hugs your way.

    • you had to face it later though–you would think I would be used to it by now

  9. I’d like to tell you that it gets easier… but as the mother of two sons who are now 30 and 35, I still cry at the goodbyes. They are both married, with happy successful lives. But they don’t live close, so there are always visits followed by goodbyes. Tearful goodbyes. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to wave away without those tears.

    • Goodbyes are the hardest aren’t they? I don’t think we ever get used to it as mothers

  10. Oh I remember those days! I also remember when I left for college and my Mum and Dad stood and waved me off on the train. You’ll be fine and so will he! :)

    • We will be. I still remember waving to my parents from my 9th floor window in residence

  11. I have 5 kids, 3 are off on their own..the last 2 graduate this year and then off to the military for them both.. I thought i was ready, but I’m not.. Gonna stock up on some Klennex come June.. Enjoy those last few days and Mom, you did good :-)

    • you sound like you did good too — it is better we miss them though – means we love ‘em

  12. Ha ha ha . . .”write back.” He has a good sense of humor.

    P.S. I teared up when i read the bit about him waving until you are out of sight. Sigh.

  13. Although my little brother has been away at college across the country for 4 years, this summer he moved out to his own apartment with a job and everything! I’m not even his parent and it’s a weird transition…I can only imagine. Hang in there! :)

    Also, I wanted to let you know I nominated you for The Booker Award.

    http://thehandwrittenlife.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/book-em/

    • I will get through it (I hope)
      Thanks so much for the Booker Award – I am honoured to be thought of ;)

  14. The Queen – yes – the Queen said after 9/11, that grief is the price of love. I think it’s true – if we didn’t love, we wouldn’t feel..And I too have wept as my son has walked away on his first day at big school… we can’t get away from it!
    It’s almost the privilege of loving

    • what a wonderful way to look at it — takes some of the sting out of it -thank you for this perspective

  15. Oh Lou Ann … how that resonates with me. I have one child only and this year is the first year she is living away from me due to her schooling. During the first three months I could not stop crying … if I saw a girl about my daughter’s age in any public place; I cried there and then. It did get better. I am very proud of my girl and all she is accomplishing … and in the same time could not believe how time has gone by. Like you I know we raise our kids to be an in depended, decent humans … still letting them go is hard. It is mother’s lot.

    • It is difficult–particularly the first year–though I am not finding it all that easy this year, but that is probably because it is happening right now–thanks for sharing your story–a mother’s lot is hard sometimes isn’t it

  16. Oh dear. I am sorry. Having only a ten year old, I don’t know what this feels like yet, but I am thinking about you and your family.

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts — it is part of the normal passage I guess and we just have to deal with it. You have quite a few years before you will be faced with it — I remember not understanding “empty nest syndrome”

  17. I know that day will come for us, but right now it seems far away. And occasionally I look forward to it. Mostly the growing up and maturing part. The girlie hormones are starting and I’m not sure I’m going to survive it.

    • Growing up and maturity part are a long time coming. I am still growing up and maturing (lol). You will survive – but sometimes it will seem like you won’t. Even now there are trials and tribulations – but of a different sort.

  18. For 18 years I kept saying, I don’t know what all the fuss is about, we raise our children to be independent and to live their lives..well.lets just say when they turned 18 I found out what all the fuss is about :(.. my babies are no longer babies. But today,I am enjoying that they are both home for now, my daughter returning to school to be a nurse, and my son getting back on his feet after being laid off from his job last year, thankfully he found a better job and will soon be moving out again, but I can handle it this time, he is 31 and will live near home…I can handle it, really,….I can..If I say it enough I will start to believe it!! :)

    • I know– we have to do a lot of self talk don’t we –and all of our stories are different – my oldest son is 26 and sort of half lives here

  19. How neat that you send him such regular emails and that you’re not disappointed with one word replies. My kids are good at keeping in touch, too, although our daughter is on a more daily basis. It’s good when we’re in their heart as they go off to explore the world on their own two feet.

    • You are right–he thinks it is kind of funny that I write him emails every day – but I bet if I stopped he would wonder what was wrong – he likes to text and phone

  20. i email every day too. i think how lucky i am that i can email and don’t live in a time that when you could only write a letter and months would go by before you’d have an answer. there’s something to be said for technology easing the empty nest syndrome.


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