Things I learned on move-in day

Yesterday, move-in day for youngest in his second year of college, felt long enough to be at least two days. On the three-hour drive home I thought of something that I was pretty sure happened at breakfast, but it seemed like so long ago it truly felt like it had to have been at least the day before.

So, what I learned yesterday:

1. I don’t know as much as I think I know about my kids (okay, that’s not exactly a huge surprise). First news of the morning was that The Boy and his very nice girlfriend had broken up. Weird.

2. My aging butt does not like driving six hours in one day. Ouch!

3. When planning for hundreds of college students to move into a brand-new dorm (which took the place of the biggest parking lot on campus), do NOT make this the plan:


In this picture you can see a few of the EIGHT lines of cars stretching across the parking lot at the stadium. We moved three car lengths every 20 minutes. Thankfully our time slot was at 10:00 am when it was still slightly cooler and shady, so we missed the 97 degree Fahrenheit temps that people had to sit through in the afternoon.

4. Though the crews of moving helpers stationed right outside the dorm are very fast and friendly, don’t give them charge of anything you’re really fond of. A nice chrome and canvas three-drawer cart The Boy brought along to store his linens arrived in his room looking like it had been dropped from the top floor.

5. On move-in day in a college town, Target is a good place to avoid. We did actually find everything there that we needed to complete his dorm room, though. Because – surprise! – even when it’s your second year and you make lists and plan everything carefully, there’s still at least $100 worth of stuff you’ll need once you get into the room.

6. The Smoothie King you stop at on the way back from Target because it’s a very long, hot day and you all deserve a little treat…has an appalling lack of chocolate on the menu. If chocolate is required, go for the DQ next door.

7. I knew this one already, but it was nice to see evidence again – Middle Sister really loves her little brother. She wasn’t paying attention and we almost pulled away without her saying good-bye, so she made me stop the van. Then she ran back to him and gave him a big hug. That made him roll his eyes in embarrassment, so I told him it was not okay to be annoyed just because his sister likes him a lot. That put a big smile on his face, which was the last thing I saw as I drove off.

8. It’s not until I finally got home to a quiet and empty house that I felt the worst stab of empty nest pain. The silence is overwhelming. My beloved bird feeders, which The Boy loved to watch with me, and which he kept filled all summer, were empty when we got home last night. That sight hit a little too close to home. And the vacant bedroom across the hall haunted me every time I woke up in the night…which was a lot.

Well, there you have it. On almost the first anniversary of Mom Goes On, I’m struggling with the same empty-ish nest stuff I was dealing with a year ago. Now I’ve got to figure out what “going on” is going to look like this year.

Trying to create a game plan for what to do with all of The Boy's stuff.

Trying to create a game plan for what to do with all of The Boy’s stuff.

The room in the new dorm is costs more, but it's worth it for the large, airy, bright feel. Much better than the dark, claustrophobic hole we had to leave him in last year.

The room in the new dorm costs more, but it’s worth it for the large, airy, bright feel. Much better than the dark, claustrophobic hole we had to leave him in last year.




9 thoughts on “Things I learned on move-in day

    • Oh, gosh that first one is really tough. I cried off and on for the whole ten hour trip home that first time. Strangely, my husband kept asking me all the way home, “What’s wrong? She’s obviously happy and excited about her new college life!” Apparently it’s VERY different for fathers… I hope you get through this big goodbye okay.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi – mine are passed ‘move in day’ and still I feel melancholy for September rituals – though I could give up waiting in the car in the 97 degree heat. I’ve turned my blog Text Me, Love Mom: Two Girl, Two Boys, One Empty Nest – into a book and my four artistic souls contributed – so like you hearing about the breakup at breakfast – I heard about a few sketchy events in their heartfelt additions. The hug from the sister was so dear.


    • Thanks for the comment and the supportive words. Congratulations on your book! My co-author and I are working on turning our blog into a book, so it’s good to hear someone else has been there. Our most recent book is on Kindle as well as in hard copy, but we’re not really familiar with the e-publishing process. Would be interested to hear about your experience with it.


  2. That looks like a huge dorm room. Sorry to hear about the break up. Our youngest started a job yesterday…we didn’t even know he was looking or interviewing for that matter. I wonder why they figure their moms wouldn’t like some important information?

    A year ago, I was very sad about the fledglings going off on their own. Today, the Wee One moves back, and our oldest has decided to stay longer than we had anticipated. So, I’m not sure if I ever let the sadness of the quiet sink in, and I’m going to have to go through it all over again. Not looking forward to that.


    • That’s great that your youngest started a new job, even though he didn’t manage to share the news. I do hope having the nest quite a bit fuller now is a positive experience for all of you.


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