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Hoggirl

Fearing criticism, but posting anyway. A different perspective on kids going to college.

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I'm not sure you're right in your assessment that people are trying to one-up each other with grief.  Here on the boards is the only place where I've heard parents being sad at their kids leaving.  

 

 

It's ok that you're content moving on to a new stage in life.  It's ok that other people are shaken and sad at the change.  I think you're right that none of us should feel bad for how it plays out in our lives.  It's ok if we react differently.

 

This is how I feel.  IRL, I act all happy and excited for DD.  And I am.  But it's nice to be able to come to the board and know that other moms understand the complexity of emotions.  I share here because I don't think most of my RL friends would get it.

Edited by goldberry
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I find this fascinating. Among my circles, talking about (or posting about) how hard it has been for your child(ren) to leave is worn like a badge of honor.

 

I was equally fascinated that you have people around you that say having kids leave for college is anything but the best thing ever.  :huh:

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I wil probably get flamed, but I am going to post anyway.

 

Everyone has different experiences when their children leave the nest. None is more valid than any other. Did I cry? Yes, on the plane flying out to meet ds and dh for move in (they had driven the 1,800+ mile journey). Got a catch in my throat when we said the official good-bye. That's it. Ditched the parent dinner to go back to happy hour at the hotel. Went to Vegas on the drive back. Only heard from ds five days later. The only reason he called was because neither his credit card nor his debit card were working when trying to make a purchase at the bookstore. Did not see ds until Thanksgiving. I DO miss him, but he is living the dream. We talk once a week and have intermittent texting.

 

I am not trying in any way to minimize the poster who is having difficulties with her dd starting school. We all handle this change in our own unique ways. However, my absence of a grieving process does not mean I love my ds any less than those who do grieve. I have had friends grieve the fact that they will no longer color Easter eggs with their children. I am THANKFUL that is behind me. Can I just say that I loathe glitter and all types of crafts?

 

On some level, I feel like there is this perverse "contest" as to whom is the saddest/most distraught mom about launching her kid. And, that somehow, whoever is the most distraught, is the best mom. If that is the case, I am a sucky mom. My FB feed has been filled with laments. It's hard. I get it. The dynamics at home are different. I get it. But not everyone struggles.

 

All that to say, if you are a parent who read that other post but didn't really relate, it's okay. Your perspective is valid, too.

 

Flame away.

I feel the same way and also feel like I can't say that. I think DD has a fantastic opportunity and I am so happy she does. I miss her when she's gone, but I don't "grieve" it. But I keep that to myself lest my mom-friends who ARE grieving think I'm disdainful of how *they* feel.

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DH told me to save some of the kid crappy artwork scribbles into a box so I can cry over them when they leave. I laughed and told him I'm going to be cruising the Med when they leave, no crying into boxes, he is welcome to join ;)

I do give many thoughts to the post kid life though. They take a lot.

Edited by madteaparty
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I find this fascinating. Among my circles, talking about (or posting about) how hard it has been for your child(ren) to leave is worn like a badge of honor.

I wouldn't say it is worn like a badge of honor in my circles, but it is definitely something my other mom-friends expect we must all feel this way - bereft. One of my friends in particular posts a lot of FB memes about how affected she has been when first the oldest, now the next child down (still one at home) has gone off for college. She know exactly the number of weeks until she sees them again. It's just not something I relate to, but I also don't say much about my different experience.

 

I threw myself into motherhood 100%, but I also always felt like this was the *point.* I was always trying to raise them to bloom on their own and so it makes me happy my firstborn seems to be doing exactly that.

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It is definitely heavy on the grieving side in my circles.  One mom has a son that just went into the military (a choice that is common in her family, and has been her son's goal his entire life).  Things she has posted has made me think "He didn't die! He's just moved on with his life."  She's been a little more extreme than many of the moms I know, but most of them have been very very upset about the kids leaving the nest, or even thinking about when they do leave.  I'll admit though, most of the mothers *here* that I see so upset are also the ones that give me the side eye for letting my kids be so independent. I feel bad that they are so heartbroken, and do offer my sympathies.  Even if I don't have similar feelings.

I'm over here like "Wouldn't you like a place of your own?" to my 19 year old..lol.  (And I'll admit, this is my own projection.  I had been married for three years at her age and was pregnant with HER. I can't image myself still living at home at 19.)

 

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And, actually, rather than thinking I'm the Best Parent for being sad that they'll go, I've wondered what the heck is wrong with me that all my friends are glad their kids will leave and I'm the only one sad at the thought. I figured I was probably overly involved and too dependent on my family. I certainly don't think it makes me the Best Parent. I've worried that it makes me weak or clingy. (Which is kind of funny because my dh and friends all tell me I'm overly-independent and should learn to rely on others more. Sigh.)

See, and I find this so funny because I spent a month or two the beginning of DD's freshman year wondering what the heck was wrong with ME because I just wasn't sad about it and could not relate. When I got together with my Bunco Mom buddies, it was so marked because we were once playgroup moms, so we have a lot of kids all going off to college at the same time. And these ladies I love are talking about bursting into tears when passing the vacant bedroom or looking at the empty space at the dinnertable, but it just isn't this way for me. I figured maybe some of it was the my kid is not very far away and some of them can only visit their kids by airplane. But even moms with local kids sometimes find this enormously hard.

 

I don't really understand it, but I think it is like so many other things in life: it's just not the same for everyone. But I keep my non-grief largely to myself, in part because I think the other moms will wonder what is wrong with me and in part because I just don't want to negate their different experience.

 

P.S. i did post a topic about this same subject last year, entitled somethinglike, "Could this also be normal?" And I would link it here if this search function here would cooperate!

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P.S. i did post a topic about this same subject last year, entitled somethinglike, "Could this also be normal?" And I would link it here if this search function here would cooperate!

 

The search function worked fine. I went to your profile, find content, only topics, sort by thread title, looked under "C":

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/563490-could-this-also-be-normal-feelings-about-sending-child-off-to-college/

 

ETA: I briefly re-read it and still stand by what I wrote in my two posts in that thread.

Edited by regentrude

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I threw myself into motherhood 100%, but I also always felt like this was the *point.* I was always trying to raise them to bloom on their own and so it makes me happy my firstborn seems to be doing exactly that.

 

:iagree: It was always the point.  I get the sadness, nostalgia, etc.,  in the same way I get it when I realize there are no more babies coming for me.

I don't get "bereft".  I don't mean that to be judgemental, but I don't get it.  I would be bereft if mine didn't leave the nest (if not for college, eventually for something), because I would have failed.

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The search function worked fine. I went to your profile, find content, only topics, sort by thread title, looked under "C":

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/563490-could-this-also-be-normal-feelings-about-sending-child-off-to-college/

 

ETA: I briefly re-read it and still stand by what I wrote in my two posts in that thread.

In reference to my response in that thread... I'm STILL in the corner of shame.

 

Last week I dropped off my third son at college (along with the twins I referred to in that thread)... and ohmygoodness, not a single tear this time.

 

I did get a lump in my throat the night before we all left home for "Operation College Drop-Off" because I was reading the last chapters of Charlotte's Web to my younger kids (stupid, stupid thing to do). But when it came time to say goodbye, I put one son on the train, hugged him and said "See ya at Christmas", another son on the airplane, hugged him and said "See ya at Christmas", and for the third son I took him to breakfast, drove him to the curb in front of his dorm, got out, hugged him, and said "See ya at Christmas"... then drove away. I got a little lump in my throat, but it quickly disappeared as I merged onto the highway.

 

I've always envisioned this culmination of my active years of mothering, so it's not like it sneaked up on me. It's the entire point of the previous 18 years. Everything I've done for the last 20 years has been to prepare for this incredible moment. It's a bit sad, yes, but I'm also enjoying it far more than I probably should. (LOL)

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I'm TIRED, and am looking forward to the break from the daily push and pull that comes from parenting three smart, strong young women that have their own opinions on EVERYTHING!

 

This will be me in about seven years. The opinions about everything have already started. ;)

 

The other day, my mother asked me, "What will you do when you're done homeschooling?"

 

Me: "Something else!"

 

I am enjoying this part of the journey, both the parenting and the schooling, but I'll be ready to move on to the next season of life when it comes along. I agree, this is the plan from the start -- the kids get on with their adult lives, and we get parts of our lives returned to us.

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Operator idiocy. ;)

Lol - no!

 

Senior moment on my part since i posted on that thread where you basically said the same thing that I said in my original post.

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Lol - no!

 

Senior moment on my part since i posted on that thread where you basically said the same thing that I said in my original post.

It's interesting to look back at that thread and see what I said and note it is what I still feel. Also interesting you posted to that thread immediately.

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:iagree: It was always the point. I get the sadness, nostalgia, etc., in the same way I get it when I realize there are no more babies coming for me.

I don't get "bereft". I don't mean that to be judgemental, but I don't get it. I would be bereft if mine didn't leave the nest (if not for college, eventually for something), because I would have failed.

I think it is perfectly OK to not get, it ... to not feel that yourself. I envy that. What bothers me is the judgement (not necessarily your, but the comments I hear from others) on those of us who do feel bereft, as if our feelings of loss and sadness mean that we can't possibly also feel joy and excitement for our children starting a new adventure and satisfaction over proof of a job well done. Those feeling are not mutually exclusive. They can and do occur at the same time. It is not an either/or situation.

 

 

Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk

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Dh and I have been preparing for 17 years to send dd off to college. He pointed out to me that her move in day was like our graduation day. It marked the culmination of all those years of effort and activity. He also jokingly wondered why no one was throwing us a party or giving us gifts (such a  comedian!).

 

Also, dd had been preparing us somewhat for this for several months, although I don't think she did it intentionally. As she matured, she began to spend more time with her friends and classmates than with "the old folks at home". So her room was empty quite a bit, even when she was still living at home. She was experimenting with different types of diets to see which combination of foods made her feel the best, so she often cooked her own meals apart from what we were eating. Due to her work, school and social schedule, her mealtimes were often not the same as ours anyway. Her move toward independence started long before her actual move in day.

 

I love her dearly and threw myself into homeschooling and being her mother 100%. She is our only child, so she got 100% of the attention and focus. We spent quite a bit of our time making space in our lives for her. Although all that came to a screeching halt when she left, it was still okay. I am excited to start focusing on jumpstarting my previous career. I am energized thinking about creating a new lifestyle with my dh now. Dd is not totally out of the picture, she will still come home on breaks. But the dynamic has changed and I am willing and ready to embrace that. I never bought into the idea of parenting as a competitive sport when dd was young and I am not about to buy into it now. Some moms grieve more that I have, others grieve less. I refuse to waste time measuring myself against either group.

 

I still miss her, if you define "miss" as noticing a difference when things are not as they were. I realized yesterday that when she was living at home, but out with friends, I felt a constant, low-level sense of expectancy, waiting for her to call or to come home. I notice when she is not in the kitchen in the mornings, preparing her breakfast while I am preparing mine. Multiple times a day, for multiple reasons, I notice that she is not where I am used to her being. But that doesn't make me sad. I offer up a prayer for her and her new friends, I smile as I think about what an interesting person she is on the way to becoming, and I move on to other things that are starting to blossom in my life. I have always said that life is all about seasons. This is one of those times when I am challenged to walk my talk. A new season has begun. Not better, not worse - just different. 

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I'm not sure you're right in your assessment that people are trying to one-up each other with grief.  Here on the boards is the only place where I've heard parents being sad at their kids leaving.  

...

It's ok that you're content moving on to a new stage in life.  It's ok that other people are shaken and sad at the change.  I think you're right that none of us should feel bad for how it plays out in our lives.  It's ok if we react differently.

 

I agree. This is not competitive parenting. A range of reactions and emotions are expected and people experience life changes differently because we are all unique individuals. 

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I wil probably get flamed, but I am going to post anyway.

 

 

 

On some level, I feel like there is this perverse "contest" as to whom is the saddest/most distraught mom about launching her kid. And, that somehow, whoever is the most distraught, is the best mom. If that is the case, I am a sucky mom. My FB feed has been filled with laments. It's hard. I get it. The dynamics at home are different. I get it. But not everyone struggles.

 

 

No, it's not a contest. Grief is real. I'm sorry you your friends' reactions that way. Parenting isn't a competitive sport, even though many people treat it like it is. Your reaction is as equally valid as the reactions of those who are grieving. 

Edited by TechWife
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No competition. Its weird when parents act this way.

 

I am a mixed bag. I am really going to miss P. He and I get along famously, and he's an easy going, funny kid. But, I am so excited for him and fell that the is going to have a great experience. I'm also excited for our youngest. He's a brilliant kid, but far less outgoing than his older three sibs and has lived kind of in their shadow.

 

He gets to captain the Student Launch rocket team this year for the NASA challenge, and I think he is really going to blossom being the "top dog" now so to speak. I will also be down to homeschooling just one, the uber, uber, uber easy one. Its going to feel like a bit of a vacation for me...well, except the SL Team because mentoring that project is a very big deal for me and quite time consuming. I guess I just exchanged one time munching monster for another, LOL.

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I don't see it as trying to prove who the most loving parent is. People are different. It may seem odd, but I've seen similar behavior in our female dogs. They've all been loving moms to their pups; some seemed to grieve deeply when we gave them away, while others didn't seem to mind.

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Granted my boys have not gone far far away, they are within driving distance.

 

But no tears at all from me over it. They are ready, happy, have great goals for their education and good relationships. They call or text me and or their siblings frequently to just chat about life, to vent about a bad day or to ask advice.

 

I miss them being here daily, but I'm not even a little bit sad about them growing up. It's wonderful and exciting and I'm happy for them.

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May I pose a question to those who handle kids moving away to college without distress?

How do you deal with other situations where a person who has been close and dear to you is no longer present in your daily life? Spouse taking job in a different town, friends that moved out of state, relatives that emigrated to another continent. Are you generally chill about this?

I am asking because I do have a difficult time with these situations as well. Three times since we have been here, very close friends moved away, and that was always hard for me. For years after our emigration I was homesick and missed my family. Long distance marriage was difficult. Maybe it is the same traits that make me miss those other people that made it difficult for me when DD left for college.

If it matters: I am an extreme extrovert and live through my interaction with people. It could be that that may have something to do with it, i don't know.

 

Interested to see what people say.

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May I pose a question to those who handle kids moving away to college without distress?

How do you deal with other situations where a person who has been close and dear to you is no longer present in your daily life? Spouse taking job in a different town, friends that moved out of state, relatives that emigrated to another continent. Are you generally chill about this?

I am asking because I do have a difficult time with these situations as well. Three times since we have been here, very close friends moved away, and that was always hard for me. For years after our emigration I was homesick and missed my family. Long distance marriage was difficult. Maybe it is the same traits that make me miss those other people that made it difficult for me when DD left for college.

If it matters: I am an extreme extrovert and live through my interaction with people. It could be that that may have something to do with it, i don't know.

 

Interested to see what people say.

That's an interesting question. As a military family we are frequently saying goodbye to Friends. We move. They move. Sometimes we see each other again years later. A dear friend of mine took ine of my kids in overnight this summer. It was awesome for him to see them because their kids are huge role models for mine. But I haven't seen the parents in a couple of years.

Having said that my neighbors and friends who are also military spouses run the gamut on how they are responding to their kids going to college. I think it is very personal and depends on a lot of factors. First kid, last kid, college with a family move elsewhere, other stressors like sick parents.

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For myself, I know that my ds going away to college only 2 hours away has made it much easier than if it was a very long distance move.  All through the process I realized that moving cross country would have felt different.  In fact, I think we will drive down this weekend to take him out to eat and he will have only been gone two weeks.  That has definitely made it easier.

 

Maybe it just hasn't hit me yet.  He spent weeks away from home before for different camps and trips.  The most he was ever gone was 2 weeks but he did several 4-5 days away.  He has only been gone 12 days.  Maybe it will hit me when it becomes real over the long term.  

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May I pose a question to those who handle kids moving away to college without distress?

How do you deal with other situations where a person who has been close and dear to you is no longer present in your daily life? Spouse taking job in a different town, friends that moved out of state, relatives that emigrated to another continent. Are you generally chill about this?

I am asking because I do have a difficult time with these situations as well. Three times since we have been here, very close friends moved away, and that was always hard for me. For years after our emigration I was homesick and missed my family. Long distance marriage was difficult. Maybe it is the same traits that make me miss those other people that made it difficult for me when DD left for college.

If it matters: I am an extreme extrovert and live through my interaction with people. It could be that that may have something to do with it, i don't know.

 

Interested to see what people say.

Loss is loss. It hurts like h*ll, no matter what way it comes.  You feel it a lot at first, when you hear a certain song, or see a thing that you used to do with the person and possibly less often as time passes, but it may never go away (such as in the loss of a parent or someone else very close).  

 

No one is chill all the time even if they handle some things well some of the time.  I think it is an ebb and flow.  You have really, really bad days (I had one yesterday) and then days where you know everything is going to eventually be ok. 

Basically an Introvert here, but all those tests show me as basically 50/50 on that introvert/extrovert thing. 

 

So all that to say that it just depends. 

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As weird as it may sound, I've never been in a situation where someone I was really close to moved away. So I'm not sure how I'd take it. As Teachermom2834 said, knowing that DS is a relatively short (75 minute) car ride away no doubt really helps to mitigate feelings of loss. When you know you could drive down on any weeknight and take him out to dinner, go spend a weekend day with him, etc. -- I'm guessing that makes things so much easier than if your kid is a long plane ride away.

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I was a military brat, and one thing my girl scout leader taught was the song 'Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and one is gold." From my family, all of whom moved for economic opportunity, I was taught to cherish the time spent with another. So, no moping, but a happiness that you had the time together and a knowledge that you wont be alone, but will make new friends. These days, the internet makes it much easier to stay in touch. I still correspond with a friend from high school and a friend from college, even though physically we havent been able to visit. 2nd hardest thing is knowing that you are on the last physical visit, and that is where your religion takes over. (1st hardest is the gut punch when a good friend dies unexpectedly...I will be so happy when preventative medicine improves to the point that teens dont die of aneurysms).

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May I pose a question to those who handle kids moving away to college without distress?

How do you deal with other situations where a person who has been close and dear to you is no longer present in your daily life? Spouse taking job in a different town, friends that moved out of state, relatives that emigrated to another continent. Are you generally chill about this?

I am asking because I do have a difficult time with these situations as well. Three times since we have been here, very close friends moved away, and that was always hard for me. For years after our emigration I was homesick and missed my family. Long distance marriage was difficult. Maybe it is the same traits that make me miss those other people that made it difficult for me when DD left for college.

If it matters: I am an extreme extrovert and live through my interaction with people. It could be that that may have something to do with it, i don't know.

 

Interested to see what people say.

Interesting connection.

 

I am a military brat, married to the military. My life has been filled with constant loss. I do pretty much handle it the same way.

 

DH and I have lived apart several times in our 20+ years of marriage (not to mention dozens more shorter term separations). Once for one full year, once for four months, once for seven months, and once for another full year. I actually handled those fairly similarly.

 

And the only relatives I've had who moved to another continent were my sisters who are also married to the military. (So, not an emigration situation, but similar.) I handled those in the same way.

 

Maybe I'm just an unfeeling autotron. (LOL)

 

eta: I don't think it's the extrovert issue, because I'm also extroverted.

Edited by Kinsa
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Elsewhere, I posted the following a week ago today:

 

A well-organized, dry-eyed endeavor, move-in included a midnight run to stock the refrigerator and a visit over the weekend to replace some shelving and bring a few additional items. I think the fact that each of us has absorbing plans and projects for the fall contributed to the (admittedly surprising) lack of tears. At some point, I found myself thinking, There is so much more to celebrate and anticipate than to regret. Of course, we won’t discount how helpful technology has been: The iPhones and iPads are getting quite a workout with messages, email, and FaceTime. Still, although I’m a cautious woman, I believe that this can be declared a fairly successful transition for all of us.

 

So, it's a week since that post, two weeks since we moved them into their residence hall, and I continue to miss my daughters like mad, but I didn't cry on my husband's shoulder until this past Friday. Missing them, getting a summer head cold, receiving the diagnosis on my knee pain (sigh), a lack of sleep -- it all coalesced, and I needed a brief, cleansing cry. Those who know our family's story, though, know that we're a particularly stoic bunch, one generally more likely to rely on humor, however dark, than tears when grieving.

 

Have you read Elizabeth Strout's latest novel, My Name Is Lucy Barton? It contains a wonderful passage about this topic:

 

When Chrissie left for college, then Becka the next year, I thought — and it’s not an expression, I’m saying the truth — I did think I would die. Nothing had prepared me for such a thing. And I have found this to be true: Certain women feel like this, that their hearts have been ripped from their chests, and other women find it very freeing to have their children gone. The doctor who makes me not look like my mother, she asked me what I did when my daughters went to college, and I said, “My marriage ended.†I added quickly, “But yours won’t.†She said, “It might. It might.â€

 

Nothing had prepared me for such a thing. Hmmm. Maybe that's it. For better or worse, I have been prepared for such a thing. It does feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest. It's just that I know that there are sorrows keener than this.

Edited by M--
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May I pose a question to those who handle kids moving away to college without distress?

How do you deal with other situations where a person who has been close and dear to you is no longer present in your daily life? Spouse taking job in a different town, friends that moved out of state, relatives that emigrated to another continent. Are you generally chill about this?

I am asking because I do have a difficult time with these situations as well. Three times since we have been here, very close friends moved away, and that was always hard for me. For years after our emigration I was homesick and missed my family. Long distance marriage was difficult. Maybe it is the same traits that make me miss those other people that made it difficult for me when DD left for college.

If it matters: I am an extreme extrovert and live through my interaction with people. It could be that that may have something to do with it, i don't know.

 

Interested to see what people say.

I'm so chill that sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me! 

 

My mother and step-father both passed away rather young (at 41 and 52, respectively).  We've moved across the country several times.  I've lost contact with my brother, and most of my family.  

 

While I did grieve briefly with the passing of my parents, I don't seem to have that everlasting ache that many experience.  They are just...gone.  Sometimes some small thing makes me think of them, and I have a pang of missing them, but I don't get upset or cry.  

 

Same with moving.  I often cried during the actual saying goodbye, but my emotions moved on rather quickly.  

 

I think the longest I've grieved has been over my brother, and it is more situational and filled with worry about his continual downward spiral.   

 

ETA:  My dh has traveled a LOT for his job our entire marriage.  I've never been upset while he was away.  I don't even really miss him unless something major happens while he's gone.  

So maybe that is why I feel like I won't be a wreck when the girls move out?  As long as I know they are doing ok.

Edited by The Girls' Mom
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We live 1000s of miles away from immediate family, including my brother whom I adore, and my closest childhood friend. We have moved a lot and said goodbye so many times to people we love. I miss them but very rarely cried. I cried briefly about leaving my young brother in law to whom I was almost like a second mom. I felt sad to not be able to see him grow into the delightful young man he has now become. We still talk/ chat but it's not the same. I wish I could have been there for him. I didn't cry when DH left to live in another city for work (but we do see him often).

 

When DS left recently for a 6-week summer program, I tried to be brave the first 2 weeks. I teared up once or twice but was generally okay. The third week, I buckled. I saw a car registration plate with a weird jumble of letters when I was driving one day that week. That was something we always did together when driving to classes, he and I...trying to decipher what some of these personalized car registration plates could be trying to spell out and sometimes giggling our heads off over the possibilities. I drove home that day with tears of a different kind streaming down my face. I spent quite some time reduced to a sniveling mess on the bathroom floor that afternoon. It really felt like my heart had been ripped out. Despite knowing he was having the time of his life, that he was safe and that this program was really, really good for him and that I wanted very much for him to be there. And that he would be home in 3 more weeks. It was the hardest 6 weeks of my life, harder even than all the pain I went through after childbirth infection etc.

 

So to repeat, to all of you who have btdt, I am so inspired by your ability to function. :laugh:

 

I don't react this way with other people. I obviously lose it when it's my own child.

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May I pose a question to those who handle kids moving away to college without distress?

How do you deal with other situations where a person who has been close and dear to you is no longer present in your daily life? Spouse taking job in a different town, friends that moved out of state, relatives that emigrated to another continent. Are you generally chill about this?

I am asking because I do have a difficult time with these situations as well. Three times since we have been here, very close friends moved away, and that was always hard for me. For years after our emigration I was homesick and missed my family. Long distance marriage was difficult. Maybe it is the same traits that make me miss those other people that made it difficult for me when DD left for college.

If it matters: I am an extreme extrovert and live through my interaction with people. It could be that that may have something to do with it, i don't know.

 

Interested to see what people say.

 

Hm.  I guess about the same.  Admittedly, I haven't had a lot of loss, so maybe there is more that I haven't experienced yet.

 

My dh and I have never lived apart,but I think I would handle it ok.  That probably wouldn't have been true 10 years ago, but after 19 years of marriage, I wouldn't actually mind a little space.

 

I've lost a couple of friends over the years, but I just roll with it.  I guess I've never had a friend that I felt would be a permanent fixture in my life.  They seem to always cycle out eventually.

 

My greatest loss was probably my grandfather, years ago.  It hurt.  I loved him very much, and he did more for me than he ever should have had to.  But he had been sick for a few years and I was ready for that to be over, too.  So, no  tears when he died.  Just an ache, that had in some ways been there for years already.  In a way his death was a relief that there would finally be no more "run to the hospital emergencies" and the roller coaster was over.  My mother, on the other hand, was all wailing and throwing herself on his body in the hospital and more wailing at the funeral.  It was rather off-putting to me, to be honest.  I'm very private by nature and find such displays to be embarrassing, even as an observer.

 

Possibly part of my "ok ness" with my son going off to college is that while he's an important part of my life, I never considered his childhood to be a permanent part of my life (or, hopefully, his), which meant that his body would not be in my home long term.  I also don't include my children, even as teens, in my adult circle.  I don't confide in them, I don't treat them as equals, or a friend, or a peer.  They don't fill those roles for me, so those roles are not emptied by the child leaving.  I'm not sure if that's the same loss the others are talking about, just sort of thinking out loud, trying to find the point of difference.  Still not sure I understand.  I mean, I understand that they feel a loss, but I don't understand why.  I don't see the loss.

 

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I also don't include my children, even as teens, in my adult circle.  I don't confide in them, I don't treat them as equals, or a friend, or a peer.  They don't fill those roles for me, so those roles are not emptied by the child leaving.  I'm not sure if that's the same loss the others are talking about, just sort of thinking out loud, trying to find the point of difference.  Still not sure I understand.  I mean, I understand that they feel a loss, but I don't understand why.  I don't see the loss.

 

Maybe the bolded contributes?

Over the years, my relationship with DD more and more developed into one of peers. Sure, we are still not on even footing, due to differing life experience, but she is one of my favorite people with whom I love to hang out, travel, hike, climb, cook, eat... all things I can no longer do on a daily or even monthly basis. Doing the stuff she would have loved to do without her is just not the same. We went back home this summer to see our family, just DH, DS and I, and we went on a backpacking trip, just the three of us - and every time there was an acute sense of something not being complete.

We went to visit her in Oregon this summer for a week, and it was lovely to be able to do our favorite things together with her. Felt like old times. 

Edited by regentrude
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I also wonder to have degree a parent's own biography contributes to the different feelings.

I grew up with my grandmother living with us. Most of the extended family lived in the same city.

I lived at home while attending university and moved out when I was 22; my first apartment was a few houses up the street.

My sister lived at home until she was 23 and her baby was 5; she still lives in the same city and my niece grew up being at her grandparents every weekend.

 

I miss it. For a decade after my emigration, I was almost jealous that my sister got to live in our home town.

I know that, for my parents, it is very difficult seeing me only once a year. They don't talk much about it, but I know it is hard on my mom. And I was 33 when I left.

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Over the years, my relationship with DD more and more developed into one of peers.

 

Yeah, I'm not there with my kids.  Maybe someday.  But not right now.

 

Partly, it's that with so many years of homeschooling (my kids never went to school), when I wanted to talk, I wanted an ADULT to talk to.  By the end of the day I was always SO DONE with my kids (I used to mentally sing "it's the most wonderful time of the day" to the tune of the Christmas song "it's the most wonderful time of the year" at bedtime every night). 

 

Partly, it may be that with boys, there isn't the maturity yet that I would consider them peers. 

 

Partly, it may be that because of my upbringing (emotionally stunted mother that relied on me to be her companion between boyfriends/husbands), I never wanted to put my kids in the position of being responsible for me and my emotional welfare.

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Yeah, I'm not there with my kids.  Maybe someday.  But not right now.

 

Partly, it's that with so many years of homeschooling (my kids never went to school), when I wanted to talk, I wanted an ADULT to talk to.  By the end of the day I was always SO DONE with my kids (I used to mentally sing "it's the most wonderful time of the day" to the tune of the Christmas song "it's the most wonderful time of the year" at bedtime every night). 

 

For the last several years of homeschooling, DD was, as far as intellectual maturity is concerned, an adult with whom I could have adult level conversations. 

 

 Partly, it may be that with boys, there isn't the maturity yet that I would consider them peers.

 

Yes, with my DS, the relationship is very different from the one I have with DD.

 

 

 

Partly, it may be that because of my upbringing (emotionally stunted mother that relied on me to be her companion between boyfriends/husbands), I never wanted to put my kids in the position of being responsible for me and my emotional welfare.

 

Absolutely. I did not have such a mother, but I agree that children should not be responsible for their parent's emotional welfare.

But neither are my close friends responsible for my emotional welfare, and I am still close to them

 

 

Edited by regentrude
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My relationship with dd is more like what TammyS describes. I love her fiercely, but ours was definitely a mother/daughter relationship, not one of peers or adult friends. Dh and I have a closer relationship than dd and I do. 

 

Regarding other losses in my life, it has been 10 years since my father passed away and I still miss him and think of him often. I went from that initial, intense, brittle state of barely functional grief to a much lower, but ongoing level. I occasionally tear up when thinking of him, but am able to wipe away the tears and move on with my life within a few seconds. I would say that I have been at this level of grief over his passing for the last 8 or so years. I doubt it will change during my lifetime. I am not sure I want it to. I cherish my memories of him, even though they occasionally make me sad.

 

 I have always felt that I am not a very sentimental person. I do feel a little unsettled now and then, but I suspect that will change as our "new normal" emerges.

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Maybe the bolded contributes?

Over the years, my relationship with DD more and more developed into one of peers. Sure, we are still not on even footing, due to differing life experience, but she is one of my favorite people with whom I love to hang out, travel, hike, climb, cook, eat... all things I can no longer do on a daily or even monthly basis. Doing the stuff she would have loved to do without her is just not the same.  

 

I think that is true, too. 

 

I've been trying to think of a way to say this that doesn't sound like I'm tooting my own horn as either an individual or a mom . . .

 

My kids are very, very bright . . . okay, highly gifted . . . okay, maybe profoundly gifted. Over all, we're a very smart, nerdy family, and we share interests that aren't especially widespread in the wide world. We don't often meet people other than the ones to whom we're related by blood with whom we connect and who really "get" us. Over the years, each of my kids has had maybe one or two friends at a time who fits that bill. Maybe. I have fewer. So, although we sometimes drive each other crazy, we also have a closeness and level of comfort with each other that is extremely rare in relationships on the outside. 

 

Each of my kids is capable of making me laugh harder than just about anyone else I've ever met.

 

In part due to some discomfort with the way I was raised, I was extremely intentional about being my kids' mom, not their friend, as long as they were children. However, once my daughter graduated from college and moved back home for those couple of years, things did begin to shift. So, yes, it's not "just" my child that I miss, but a dear friend. Although she is now 21 and has lived on her own for a little over two years, we still touch base via Facebook and text nearly daily, often multiple times throughout the day. We Skype frequently. We seek each other's advice about life stuff. We share book and movie recommendations. She is one of about four or five people in the world I can count on to get my jokes. 

 

I'm not selfish enough to wish she had stayed. I want her to go live her own life. I'm excited for the adventures she's having and the life and career and relationships she's building. But, on a purely personal level, having her not here is a big deal.

 

And I have to say that, although my relationship with my son is different, we are also very close and, seemingly, unusually compatible. We had a rocky few years, but the last year or so things have begun to fall into a very comfortable rhythm. When he has an issue with his girlfriend, he seeks me out to discuss it. When he's excited about his latest project, I'm one of the first people he calls or texts. When he's home and we're driving around town together, we talk about anything and everything. We share playlists of our favorite music. We talk about books. I genuinely like him and enjoy his company, and he seems to feel the same about me.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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May I pose a question to those who handle kids moving away to college without distress?

How do you deal with other situations where a person who has been close and dear to you is no longer present in your daily life? Spouse taking job in a different town, friends that moved out of state, relatives that emigrated to another continent. Are you generally chill about this?

I am asking because I do have a difficult time with these situations as well. Three times since we have been here, very close friends moved away, and that was always hard for me. For years after our emigration I was homesick and missed my family. Long distance marriage was difficult. Maybe it is the same traits that make me miss those other people that made it difficult for me when DD left for college.

If it matters: I am an extreme extrovert and live through my interaction with people. It could be that that may have something to do with it, i don't know.

 

Interested to see what people say.

I'm not sure I would describe myself as "chill." I think I would describe myself as "hardened." I lost my parents simultaneously when I was 24 years old. I am an only child. I guess I view losses as being relative depending on the type of "loss" that it is.

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OP, I'm sorry about your parents and losing them so young. :grouphug:

 

 

Edited by quark
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Living in the area with the extended family had substantial economic penalties for us, but we stayed because we hoped our children could have relationships with family, as my parents died before they were born. Only one aunt and two uncles were interested, and one had to move to find work. The rest all resent the expectations such as celebrating graduations and marriages of nieces and nephews and cousins and ignore all nonsibs. My college friends are the people who stepped up when I was very ill, offering to help launch the children should I not survive. My kids have relationships with my college friends, developed over the years. They have none with their living gps, or their godparents, who are ten minutes away but only come over if there is a meal offered, and ignore them. We know now there is mental illness involved (NPD), but we did waste a lot of time in a futile endeavour. We have no regrets walking away from extended family holidays, and we will have no regrets retiring far away. As a military brat, I saw extended family every three years for a week. My aunts and uncles all took time to develop a relationship and I lived with one aunt during grad school. I corresponded with my grandmother regularly while living overseas. So, really, physical proximity has nothing to do with me not feeling a sense of great loss over someone who isnt right next door any longer- it doesnt mean the relationship is lost. Its not 'out of sight, out of mind'. We still continue our relationship. When my children marry, I will not feel a loss, but a gain at having new relationships with their spouse and children.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Over the years, my relationship with DD more and more developed into one of peers. Sure, we are still not on even footing, due to differing life experience, but she is one of my favorite people with whom I love to hang out, travel, hike, climb, cook, eat... all things I can no longer do on a daily or even monthly basis. Doing the stuff she would have loved to do without her is just not the same. We went back home this summer to see our family, just DH, DS and I, and we went on a backpacking trip, just the three of us - and every time there was an acute sense of something not being complete.

We went to visit her in Oregon this summer for a week, and it was lovely to be able to do our favorite things together with her. Felt like old times. 

 

This is my situation, too. DS is probably my favorite person in the world to hang out with, talk to, laugh with. He has a very quick wit and a gift for word play and he makes me laugh every single day, in a way that no one else does. We have long, deep, intense discussions about everything from politics to linguistics to the nature of love and the meaning of life. 

 

This past summer, he attended a residential program in linguistics at a university on the other side of the country. He was only gone for 2 weeks, but it gave me a taste of what life will be like when he leaves for college, and it made me really sad. I will miss the bear hugs and the kiss on top of my head every morning when he comes down for breakfast, followed by sharing a pot of tea and discussing last night's news (and John Oliver's take on it). I will miss watching him "air fence" all over the house, with a plastic knife while he waits for his toast to pop or the remote control while he watches TV. I will miss watching Teaching Co lectures together and having amazing discussions about books. I will miss seeing his little dog jump all over him when he gets home from fencing every night, smothering him with kisses like she hasn't seen him for a month, even though it's only been a few hours.  

 

I know that I'm going to be basket case when he leaves. Not because I'm not thrilled for him to start his next great adventure, but because I know I will never be able to replace what we had. As much as I love DD, she is a very different person, and we have a much more typical mother/daughter relationship (with all the teenage angst that entails!). As much as I will miss her when she leaves for college, I think it will be more the "normal" feelings of a parent launching a child, rather than the grief of losing something irreplaceable.

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Oh my, Jackie, that sounds so much like DS and me. No kiss on top of the head but lots of morning hugs and jokes and discussions. Just replace plastic knife fencing with walking circles around the kitchen island in intense concentration while thinking of math problem. And add one more dog to the mix.  :laugh: 

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May I pose a question to those who handle kids moving away to college without distress?

How do you deal with other situations where a person who has been close and dear to you is no longer present in your daily life? Spouse taking job in a different town, friends that moved out of state, relatives that emigrated to another continent. Are you generally chill about this?

 

I am equally devastated by anyone missing from my life. When dh and I got married we agreed that he would never take a job that required significant travel, because I just couldn't take it. I am an introvert and form a few very tight bonds. When one of those people goes missing, whether it is for a happy reason or a sad one (death, travel, moving etc) I feel the loss intensely. 

 

Over the years, my relationship with DD more and more developed into one of peers. Sure, we are still not on even footing, due to differing life experience, but she is one of my favorite people with whom I love to hang out, travel, hike, climb, cook, eat... all things I can no longer do on a daily or even monthly basis. Doing the stuff she would have loved to do without her is just not the same. We went back home this summer to see our family, just DH, DS and I, and we went on a backpacking trip, just the three of us - and every time there was an acute sense of something not being complete.

 

 

This makes sense to me too. After dh, my kids are my two best friends in the world. I think of them as adults and they are the adults I confide in. They are the people I want to do things with and talk to. We've certainly had days when conflict lead me to be done with them at the end of the day, but really that was a rare thing. I've always loved spending every possible moment with my family. I've always thought it was me that was weird in this, not those who don't feel that way, but it still is my reality.

 

I have loved every stage of my kids life. Each one felt right at the time and I have enjoyed each one. I know it was time for them to go. I am happy for them. I do want them to each be where they are. I do feel like their going away to college was a confirmation of my successfully completing my job. None of that makes me miss them less. Two of my three best friends are no longer with me on a daily basis. That has been really hard. 

 

For me the thing that has made this year better is that both my kids text with me a LOT. Last year, I didn't know this would happen, but when ds left last year it was just something that we did. When dd left, she warned me she wouldn't text me all the time like ds does. She actually texts me more :laugh: . The constant communication has helped me feel the relationship is still in tact, even though they aren't here. I still miss them when I go to do activities we would have done together, but I send a text or a snapchat and feel like they are still there in spirit.

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I think if my boys were going somewhere that required a flight to visit on a practical basis - I'd be upset. Because in our income bracket, that would basicly mean we would stop seeing each other and being involved in our lives. Sure, we'd call and mail care packages. But that's not the same. I'd wonder if they had a car wreck and were in ICU, what would I do? We wouldn't be able to afford to fly them home for summer and holiday breaks either. Those things would really upset me as in I'd be a lot more worried for them and I'd feel a lot more helpless to be there for them should they need family.

 

But just moving out? When they have plans and having a good head in their shoulders? To somewhere I can drive within 24 hours? I can handle that. That's exciting and wonderful and I'm so very glad it's worked out that way.

 

Dh works in another state and comes home on the weekends and it's hard and it sucks and we both hate it. This is harder on us than the kids moving out.

 

But also, it's not like I'm going to have an empty nest anytime soon either.

 

I will say I got a bit watery for my five year old.

 

He asked me a week after the boys moved to their apt, "Mom, you remember those other two big kids that used to live here?

 

You mean your brothers, ___ and ___?

 

Yeah. I hope they survived wherever they went. Because I love them and want to see them again some day. Do you think they'll remember me if they survive and if we ever see each other again?

 

Poor kid. His entire childhood is going to be watching his super heroes move out one or two at a time. Thinking about that made my eyes water some.

 

Thankfully his big siblings miss the family too. They call and FaceTime almost daily and can visit frequently. And he has stopped asking if they remember him when they call.

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I will say I got a bit watery for my five year old.

 

He asked me a week after the boys moved to their apt, "Mom, you remember those other two big kids that used to live here?

 

You mean your brothers, ___ and ___?

 

Yeah. I hope they survived wherever they went. Because I love them and want to see them again some day. Do you think they'll remember me if they survive and if we ever see each other again?

 

Poor kid. His entire childhood is going to be watching his super heroes move out one or two at a time. Thinking about that made my eyes water some.

 

Thankfully his big siblings miss the family too. They call and FaceTime almost daily and can visit frequently. And he has stopped asking if they remember him when they call.

I delivered #10 in September of DS1's senior year of high school.  As he was holding her, he said, "You know, my whole life has been the family getting bigger, and babies getting added to the family.  Verity's whole life will be people leaving, and the family getting smaller."  With my post-partum hormones, that about did me in!  But he was really faithful last year about skyping with his younger siblings so they could show him their lost tooth, etc.  

 

I didn't have so much trouble with him leaving because, well, there were still 9 kids left who needed me.  I'll probably be a mess when #10 heads off!  Or maybe I'll be insane by then, lol.

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Thank you for posting this, HG!  Often in my life I feel like an odd one, and it is nice to hear that I'm not this time.  Truly I felt like something was wrong with me, or I didn't love my children as others do.  What is wrong with me that I don't cry?

 

My oldest is still a few years away from college, but I suspect I'll be happy and excited as she embarks on her adventures as I did when I went off to college.  What an adventure; I only feel unbridled joy for her.  I'll miss homeschooling, but I have already begun some tutoring to retain some of that excitement and get on with my life.  

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For the last several years of homeschooling, DD was, as far as intellectual maturity is concerned, an adult with whom I could have adult level conversations. 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my situation, too. DS is probably my favorite person in the world to hang out with, talk to, laugh with. He has a very quick wit and a gift for word play and he makes me laugh every single day, in a way that no one else does. We have long, deep, intense discussions about everything from politics to linguistics to the nature of love and the meaning of life. 

 

This past summer, he attended a residential program in linguistics at a university on the other side of the country. He was only gone for 2 weeks, but it gave me a taste of what life will be like when he leaves for college, and it made me really sad. I will miss the bear hugs and the kiss on top of my head every morning when he comes down for breakfast, followed by sharing a pot of tea and discussing last night's news (and John Oliver's take on it). I will miss watching him "air fence" all over the house, with a plastic knife while he waits for his toast to pop or the remote control while he watches TV. I will miss watching Teaching Co lectures together and having amazing discussions about books. I will miss seeing his little dog jump all over him when he gets home from fencing every night, smothering him with kisses like she hasn't seen him for a month, even though it's only been a few hours.  

 

I know that I'm going to be basket case when he leaves. Not because I'm not thrilled for him to start his next great adventure, but because I know I will never be able to replace what we had. As much as I love DD, she is a very different person, and we have a much more typical mother/daughter relationship (with all the teenage angst that entails!). As much as I will miss her when she leaves for college, I think it will be more the "normal" feelings of a parent launching a child, rather than the grief of losing something irreplaceable.

 

 

Oh my, Jackie, that sounds so much like DS and me. No kiss on top of the head but lots of morning hugs and jokes and discussions. Just replace plastic knife fencing with walking circles around the kitchen island in intense concentration while thinking of math problem. And add one more dog to the mix.  :laugh:

 

All of the above reflect my feelings toward all of my children.  My oldest daughter will be heading to college next fall, and I know it will be difficult.  She is not just my child, she is a kindred spirit, an intellectual companion and so many other things.  Morning hugs and coffee on the deck, conversing about everything from politics to silly jokes.  Just being together doing not much of anything.  Same goes for my younger daughter. My relationship with my son is much like yours, Jackie.  Every morning I get my daily hugs from him as well as his (attempts at) jokes alternating with serious conversation (more with me listening and listening.... :) ).  The dynamics between all three of my kids will also dramatically change when oldest leaves for college. We are all very quirky and it is such a gift to be among people who understand each other, who really "get" the other person.

 

I know it will be difficult, while I am also so thrilled at the possibilities for my daughter.  Her world is taking off in so many new and exciting directions... yet to be determined. :)  But I know I will struggle, and I am also so excited for her to enter this new stage.   

 

I have been told by many people that I should be thrilled to be moving toward getting them all out of the house to get back to my life, and all I can say is I have been living my life all along. 

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I have been told by many people that I should be thrilled to be moving toward getting them all out of the house to get back to my life, and all I can say is I have been living my life all along. 

 

I love this. 

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