I’ve been sitting and pondering a lot over the past week. I’ve been trying to properly evaluate my feelings regarding the life change of Anna leaving for college this past week. This wasn’t something that came on quickly nor was it unexpected. However, it is certainly requiring adjustment.
I didn’t cry when Anna started Kindergarten. I didn’t get teary-eyed when she started driving or graduated high school. All of these events were expected life moments that every child is expected to complete. I was extremely proud of her (and of us) for getting to to that point in her life. I’ve felt the same in regards to her choosing a college and moving out of the house.
However, when your oldest child moves away from home for the first time, it feels different. Over the past couple years, she has been so busy with school, work, and other activities, there were many days when we just barely saw each other. Yet, it surprised me when it first hit me that she was really gone. More on that in a bit.
Our schedules were not in-sync at all over the past week. We couldn’t do the traditional “move in” to the dorm. However, we really had the best of all worlds. Linda and Anna moved all of her stuff on Tuesday, but then returned home. (A roommate was already moved in because of band camp, therefore making the room available). I was working, so I wasn’t able to help with this move.
Anna then left for college on her own on Friday because she had a mandatory 5-minute violin audition for orchestra. It didn’t make sense for her to drive 2 hours for a 5-minute ordeal and drive back; therefore she went by herself (again, because I was working).
The family then drove over to see her on Saturday morning; we were able to take her to lunch and get the traditional pictures of parents with the kid in the dorm room.
Unfortunately, she had to learn a life-lesson on her first few days away from home. Because she only had 5 minutes of business on her first day away, she drove another 90 minutes away to another college to visit one of her best friends. She stayed up way too late and ate way too much ice cream. When we arrived on Saturday, she was sick to her stomach and didn’t feel much like hosting the family. We pushed through her illness to visit all of her classroom buildings on campus, went to lunch, and installed a carpet remnant on the dorm room floor. She was miserable the whole time. Just as we were about to leave to go home (so she could get some much needed rest), she rushed for the dorm bathroom and began vomiting. I always feel so helpless when my child is vomiting – not much you can do until it’s all over. Amazingly, she stepped into the hallway with a big grin and a bounce in her step – she suddenly felt all better. She now asked to go get french fries at Vista Drive Inn. Oh, to be a college student. (lest you think there was alcohol involved with her sickness, I can’t even get her to drink a soda because she doesn’t like the taste).
Linda did her best to not have any crying episodes through all of the past week, but she admittedly did have a couple brief spells of misty eyes. I had a heaviness in my heart knowing that she was leaving, but I wasn’t really all that sad. However, it really hit both of us quite hard on Sunday evening. We went to Mass – a service where Emily plays piano and Anna sings and plays violin. We’re busy all week long, every week – but we almost always attended Mass every weekend as a four-person family. It was very clear that we were a three-person family at Mass now. Stupidly, I pointed this out to Linda just before Mass started and then we both started bawling. Just then, the teen music director (and Anna’s voice teacher) had stopped to check on us – finding us bawling, which just about set her off, too.
Each day has become easier. It helps that we can text and Snapchat with each other with ease. She’s been doing well – and even posted an awesome selfie of her first day of college. We’re proud of her and are looking forward to going back to see her soon (it’s a good thing she’s in the same place where we go to watch football games all season long). Go K-State – EMAW!