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.