emptier nest

revans1August 16, 2008

Moved son #1 into his freshman dorm today. Son #2 (only other) is 14. Feeling blue. Anybody been through this, and able to offer words of reassurance?

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Although, my girls (20 & 23) live at home and commute to community college & local U, I have many friends who are in the same situation as you. It's tough when the nest starts to empty out and scary when family life as you know it changes.

Where's DS going and what will he be studying?

Here's my baby:

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 9:03PM
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This may not reassure you, but he is probably happy as can be. A wonderful new step, on his own, taking personal responsibility. Your emotions are positive ones, you must have raised a great guy. On to the 14 year old and smothering him with love.

And even though my "kids" are in their 40s, it still feels blue when they leave after visits. All because we love them and they are great people.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 9:04PM
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Randy-- you're not losing a son-- you're gaining a PHONE BILL!! LMAO

Seriously, Remember back to the days when you went off to college. If it makes you feel any better, he may not admit to it, but I'm sure he'll be having feelings very similar to yours. :-)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 10:06PM
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Thanks, guys. He's at UAB (University of Alabama Birmingham), so he's very close still. We will see him often (weekly, probably). Dumb of me, probably, but I really hadn't thought enough about what it would be like the day he left, and it almost caught me by surprise. His mom, on the other hand, cried once a day for a week, and now she's just fine.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 8:18AM
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LOL Bill.

And remember Randy to keep that washer & dryer ready for the weekends.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 8:24AM
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Though I'm an emotional person and my dh is not so much, it was he who had the harder time with the kiddies going away to school. The one who is near home but still in a dorm will often hear from him asking her if she wants him to cook something for her, which is an excuse for seeing her. And yes, I think his sadness surprised both of us! We still have one in high school so I think he's really going to be blue when she leaves in two years. I'm sure you'll feel better soon-- thank goodness for the computer and cell phones, huh??

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 3:57PM
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Yes, I know the feeling. My son just left for his sophmore year at college. It doesn't really hit me until I drive in the driveway and his car isn't there. He goes to school six hours away, so he never comes home for the weekend. I really do miss him. I have another son that is a junior and realize I only have two more years with him. That part of my life will be over, and will have to move on. It is a good thing for the kids to mature and live their own life. When my son came home from college this summer, he said he couldn't believe ALL the things that I had done for him! Although, he still enjoyed me doing his laundry and cooking for him!!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 6:57AM
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As of June both of my boys are out of the nest, off to college. It really is the natural progression of things and although I do miss them, part of me is also glad that I get to move on as well. I do remember (vaguely!) a life before kids and I'm enjoying that freedom and reduction of responsibility that comes with being kidless so to speak.

After all, all of us did grow up and leave home at some point, and our parents dealt with it. I agree there is some sadness just because things are now different and the family has shrunk. But there is also great joy as I realize my boys are turning into wonderful young men who will create their own individual lives, just as I did many years ago. And the enjoyment of things I want to do now that I don't have to be there as much for them.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 11:42AM
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I don't think it is just my son-boys don't keep in touch as much as girls. We have one child who is a senior this year and has already fallen in love with NYC. No doubt this is his last year so close to home. He is 30 miles away living in an on-campus apartment.

He was thrilled to be more independent his freshman year. We heeded all the advice not to hover, but it was REALLY hard. After we moved him into the dorm, he didn't call for nearly a month. Campus food and dirty clothes rather than missing his parents spurred him to call home. Over time he communicates more with us and he comes home for fun. He spent one night a week at home last semester because it was closer to work from home than his apartment. (I am praying he has to be at work early again this year, LOL).

Everyone keeps in touch in different ways. I learned as time passed what worked best for us. We text most often. I have a Facebook account and he added me as a friend (after thinking about it for 6 months). We read the online campus newspaper everyday and the local city paper to keep up with what is happening.

It didn't take long before we were enjoying a cleaner house, less laundry and fixing food we like that our son doesn't like to eat. And we are loving the change in our relationship. There is less parenting-not because he doesn't need it, but he is learning to make his own choices and be responsible for the outcomes. The time we spend together now is relaxed, fun and every moment is precious.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 1:25PM
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Today we emptied the nest. It does get easier. Our first two attended college 10+ hours away (over 600 miles away)whereas our youngest will be only 3 hours away--and he'll be home more often because he intends to come back to our business to work after graduation so he needs to maintain contact. With the first two I cried for two hours while driving home. Today I smiled because we raised 3 good kids who are responsible and mature enough to handle themselves. It helps to remember what it was like when you were 18 and ready to take on the world--at that age they're excited about new-found freedom and you need to let them enjoy it. Email and cell phones make the transition so much easier. They'll make mistakes & call....or they'll make mistakes & you'll find out about it months later & they lived through it fine.

This year all 3 of ours will be in college--Son #1 in Boston finishing his masters, daugther in Chicago finishing her law degree & son #2 starting undergrad in Lincoln, NE. I decided to take some college business classes so I can call upon them for advice & keep the lines of communication open.

Son #1 worked briefly in Beijing & is currently over there during the Olympics making business contacts. He may decide to move over there long-term. We gave them wings to fly--I just didn't think it would be so far! We let them dream & they dreamed big.

On a final note, we're enjoying getting to know our "kids" on a different level and having more free time, not tied to school activities. Life changes and you go with the flow.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:45PM
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End of week one, and everybody's fine. He asked for money once, and plans to bring a load of dirty clothes home tomorrow. I think we're going to hit on every cliche' in the book:-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 5:13PM
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I've read this thread with interest since I'm going through this also, and having a REALLY hard time . .
My son (only child !! ) . . . leaves three weeks from today for college 6 to 7 hours away. For the past few mornings, I wake up with a pit in the stomach, which stays with me all day . . . Today, the tears were there also . . . Time is going way too fast . .
Intellectually I KNOW that this is the progression of things . . birds gotta fly and all that . . . and I'm so terribly proud of the young man that he is, and excited about his future ahead of him . . . This is the college he's wanted to go to . . . in a field that he's wanted for YEARS . . . great situation all the way around . . .
the next step and all that . . . Emotionally, however, I'm a wreck !!! Added to it all, is that this summer has been an awful summer for him healthwise . . . and we're still waiting on test results . . Lyme Disease being the main one we're waiting for . . .He's been tested for so much, and I hope nothing is slipping through the cracks.
I don't want to think he has Lymes, but he has so many symptoms . . . Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, with three weeks to go, and he, of course, wants to feel GREAT when he goes up to school . . . as do I !! So, the health issues have really clouded everything else about the move.
Anxiety, naturally, in the best of situations, but throwing all this into it and it's tough . . .
He's excited about going . . . to a point . . . but it's hard to really throw himself into it when not feeling 100%.
It would be easier . . . for me . . . if he walked out the door without looking back . . . EXCITED to be going . . .
but he's not feeling that way right now, so it's going to be so very hard . . . for him and for me . . .

I'm being positive for him . . . I have to be . . .
I will always be . . .
I just want him to feel and be 100%, and then everything else will fall into place and be as it should !!!


    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 11:35AM
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Chris-- I'm sorry to hear you're having a tough time and yes, I'm sure the health issue is a huge part of it. Perhaps when you have a definitive answer and have an attack plan in place you will feel better; it's always good to have a plan. I tell everyone who asks whether I had a hard time leaving my dd across the country, that it wasn't so hard because I knew she was happy. If she were miserable or too sad, it would have been nearly impossible for me to leave. Here's hoping that within the three weeks they have a firm diagnosis and can start you ds on meds to make him feel better. Remember too that feeling lousy physically usually affects a person mentally, so when your ds feels better he'll be much more excited. And then I'll bet you will have an easier time. Will you let us know how it's going?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 12:26PM
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sjerin . . . Thanks for your post . . .and yes, I agree, when we have a definitive answer and an attack plan in place, things will be better . . . You're so right on knowing that your kids are happy makes it easier leaving them !!! This huge change will be tough . . . but I'll get through it, I know I will . . . but I have to know that my son is okay . . healthwise, and everything else !!! . . . After that, . . . everything will be a piece of cake . . . Once we have an answer, I know things will start to be better . . .

I think I'll start another thread having to do with Lymes and misc. symptoms . . I don't want to hijack this one at all . . .and get off topic of kids leaving home !!!
A whole other issue . . . my frustration with our HMO and all DS has been through !! However . . . first I must clean out the refrig. !!!!!!!!!! Have been putting that off for a few days now . . .

Thanks, again . . . for your support . . .I appreciate it lots !!!!


    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 4:21PM
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