Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Nest - She Is Empty

Off to College

We dropped off my youngest boy at college today. We are so proud of him, and so happy that he is on his way to realizing his dreams. But there is also the melancholy of saying goodbye to the child he once was.

Only weeks ago we celebrated the acceptance letter. Then we were caught up in a whirlwind of forms to fill out, orientation (where this photo was taken), details to attend, shopping, packing, and planning. And then, suddenly, it was time to go.

We stuffed the minivan full of our son's things, all the familiar clothing and belongings vanishing into baskets and bags. Three hours later we arrived at Ball State. Three quick trips from the van to the dorm room and it was all over. We hugged and smiled. He shook hands with his dad. And then we went our separate ways.

Already the house is strange. It is too quiet and too empty. Even the cat misses him, pausing at the doorway to our son's dark and silent room, a question in the tilt of his head and one raised paw: Where's our boy? When is he coming back?

We raise them to leave us. That's what they say. But it's both a joy and a sorrow the day they spread their wings and fly.

10 comments:

Rambling Woods said...

It is strange seeing your child in the dorm..all the images pass by..baby..todder...school..high school.. and there you are...It will get easier with time....Michelle

Anonymous said...

Its hard to lose your kids after all those years but that time has come. He will come home now and then but when he finishes school it can be hard again. Now our four kids are in four different states.Had to go were the work was. Its been ten years when we were all togather. But you can dream about all the good times
you had.

Have a good one Bye Bye Ed

Sallyacious said...

Good for him! And for you!

Gatsby's story reminds me of when I left for college. According to my mom, the cat who had been mine since I was 7 sat by the door for 3 days after they got back from dropping me off, waiting for me to come home.

When I finally did get back, at Thanksgiving, she was all over me for about an hour, thrilled to see me, and then spent the next full day "ignoring" me by sitting on the opposite side of whatever room I was in with her back to me.

But think about it this way, someday, he'll bring a partner home to meet you. Which is like gaining an additional child. Or so my parents say. They had 2, one of each. Now they have 4. And a grandson who is the center of their universes. (Though let's hope your boy gets through college before that happens.)

myletterstoemily said...

that empty nest takes a little adjustment.. or first couple weeks, we ate out to let ourselves slowly get
ready for only two at the dinner table.

then we started having fun, reconnecting with old
friends.

you will occasionally weep but that's just part of the grieving of missing a special one.

good luck

Stine in Ontario said...

I remember the feeling. Hang in there! The empty feeling will pass.

I hope your son does well in his studies!

smallpines said...

I something think our American education traditions, based on the European model, can be kind of brutal for the parents. 18 years at home everyday, and then off to school far away. It's rough. Stay busy and do something nice for yourself.

MyMaracas said...

Michelle - Yes, it is very strange to think of him on his own. In my more maudlin moments I hear "Sunrise, Sunset" on an endless loop in my head.


Ed - I can't even imagine having them move far away for good. My older son lives nearby, so we've been very lucky that way. So far.

Sally - He and Gatsby were inseparable. I think the poor cat will miss him most of all. Which is really bad, because major changes can cause the feline cystitis thing to flare again.

MyMaracas said...

Myletters - That would have been a good idea, I think. Dinnertime in particular has been oddly strained without the kiddo's running commentary on his interest du jour. Your comment leaves me feeling hopeful. Thanks for that!

Stine - Thanks! It's good to hear from people who have been through it and survived.

Smallpines - I hadn't thought of it that way, but it IS cruel, isn't it. And you're right about staying busy. I've decided I need to find something new to distract myself. Just haven't settled on what.

frayedattheedge said...

We did things back to front - when our son was at university, it was us who left home - we went to live in Indonesia - coming home in time to see him graduate!

MyMaracas said...

Frayed - I wish I had thought of that. LOL