It’s a big one.
Having a child away at university is not all bad.
There! I said it! (and naturally, I feel totally guilty, but I’m callin’ a spade a spade!)
In September, our first born left my well guarded and much cherished nest to start the next chapter of his life – to start school at St.F.X University. I was, in true “me” form, pretty torn up about it. I never doubted how important it is for him to experience being away and doing things on his own, but leaving him there was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I will point out, however, according to my sweet husband, I did much better with the whole transition than he ever would have thought (read: it was easier for him to deal with my emotional state than he had anticipated 😀 ).
For the first few weeks, I was pretty lonely for him and it was so different without him at home. I think what I missed the most was having him walk through the door at 4:00 every afternoon, after school. Oddly enough, though, as time went on, we started noticing a strange state of “calm” in the house and even more so is the fact that I’ve been generally feeling the same way…calmer. The other day, someone pointed out how much less stressful the mornings are, even though we still have three kids here (our oldest was the only one who was crazy hard to get out of bed in the morning). So far this year, everyone has been on time, there’s very little stress, yelling, rushing…a very pleasant difference from what had been the norm for mornings in our house, for years.
The biggest change I’ve noticed since our oldest left for school is the lack of stress and worry I have over what he’s doing. He’s a great student, so I seldom fret about that, but his natural need for independence that’s been growing over the past couple of years has been challenging for me. In spite of what was considered “normal” for most of his friends, I still felt responsible to make sure that independence came at a reasonable and safe rate. (My husband calls it “control”, but that’s such a nasty, negative word…I prefer not to use it. 😉 ) Whenever he went out, I worried about where he was, what he was doing, when he’d be home, how he was getting there…the usual. Now that he isn’t at home anymore, it is no longer my job to stress about those things and I have (rather successfully) crossed it right off my list! I’ll admit that I did spend a few of the first nights of frosh week worrying about just how many parties were going on, but since then, I’ve amazed myself at how easily I’ve been able to let it go. I am most certainly feeling less stressed and in a much calmer state, overall…it rocks!
I’m positively gobsmacked (and a little proud) at how quickly I’ve adjusted to having one of my children no longer living under our roof. I still miss him like crazy and his friends often tease him about how much we FaceTime (while waving to me on the screen 😀 ), but my husband and I keep noticing so many positives about it: the food in my fridge lasts longer – a LOT longer, we have one less work schedule to accommodate, lots more space in the house, and the best one, so much less worry for me!
Having said all of that, I’m driving up on Friday morning to bring my sweet boy home for Thanksgiving and I can’t wait. We’re both counting down the days, which warms my heart that he’s as excited to come home and we are to have him. My husband, who also went away for university, has warned me it’s likely going to be somewhat challenging for all of us to have him in the house again, but it’s only three days and I intend to enjoy every minute of it!