I’ve been reading quite a bit, on other blogs, about the beginning of the school year. A couple of posts have been about kids going off to another year of college.
Jamie went to college locally for the first year and a half and then transferred to a college about a 3 hours’ drive from home. She had been planning to go a full two years to the community college near us, but was having problems with the classes they were telling her she needed versus those which she really needed. So, she decided, in November to start the next semester away at a different college. There was so much to do in a short amount of time and I was happily kept busy helping to get things ready for her big move.
When the big move came it hit me. Hard. Jim and I drove up to help her settle in. All the kids were coming back from winter break that day. She would have a brand new transfer as her roommate though and two girls who had been there as suitemates. We were the only ones in her dorm till late in the afternoon on that Saturday, so had plenty of time to help her settle in before the others showed up.
We had decided to spend the night in town just to prolong the leaving, I’m sure.
We left Jamie to get to know her new roommates and checked into our motel. Then we decided to run to a party store to get something to drink and some snacks.
That’s when it began to hit us. We sat in the parking lot of this store and watched kid after kid come out with beer, and lots of it. It was obvious that there were going to be lots of parties that night. We wondered what would happen with our straight-laced daughter from here on. (She wasn’t a partier then and never did become one).
The next day we finished up a few things, did a little shopping for some odds and ends that Jamie might need, took her to lunch and headed for home. The farther we got from her college, the sadder I became. When we got home I soaked in the tub and cried my eyes out.
About a week later, I heard Jim talking to a friend of ours. Her son (her only child) had gone away to college the fall before so she knew how I felt. She had sent me a card that simply said “A mom hug”. So, she must have asked Jim how I was doing because I heard him say, “I think she’s starting to come around. She’s stopped walking around the house looking like she’s lost.”
I truly was lost those first weeks. But it got better. Jamie had good days and bad days. We emailed nearly every day and I printed out many of the emails, saved them and put them in a scrapbook to give her when she graduated. Some just talked about general things that were happening, some where she needed to vent about this or that. We learned to take them all in stride.
Our favorite. After what must have been a difficult day, she filled an entire email with only five words. Over and over again:
I WANT TO COME HOME!
She didn’t and survived just fine!
Of course, six years later and she’s not working in her field. But that’s another story for another day…