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


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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. 

 

Beautiful! 

Edited by TechWife
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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 plan

No flames, but, as one who really did grieve, I want to clarify that, for me, my feelings had absolutely nothing to do with competing or proving how much I love my kids. Nor were assurances that my ki

It was nice to read your post because I was thinking of posting something similar.  We are a very, very close family and love each other dearly.  But when our kids went off to college, I was thrilled!

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.

Of course you have. I love this statement, too.

 

But just as one has continued to have a life while children are at home, one will continue to have a life after they have left the nest.

 

I think it's about the concept of "seasons." It's not even about *preferring* one season over another. It's about recognizing and appreciating the different aspects of them. But, we have to allow ourselves to see the good in each one.

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Mine are in their twenties. Sometimes they live with us and sometimes they are away at work or school. I miss them fiercely every single time they leave. (And, of course I am happy because they are doing what they should be doing now and feel relieved that they are actually doing it and excited for them if it is something exciting that they are doing and l feel lucky that they are able to do this. That all goes without saying.) The person I miss now when they leave has nothing to do with the terrible grief of missing I felt, and that still hits me sometimes, over their child selves not being part of my life any more. I would feel that no matter what they were doing now. I loved those little people and I loved my life with them and that is gone forever and there is nothing whatsoever I can do about it except try not to look back. Now when they leave, it is their adult selves that I miss, the person that they just were when they were with me. I miss the interesting things that they say and the fun things we do together and the help they give. I have a full, satisfying life that is totally independent of them, but that doesn,t prevent me from missing them every time they leave. I think I am just stuck this way. And this is totally not acceptable in my social circles. This is the only place I talk about it other than a tiny bit to my family. OP, you are very normal here. : ) It was enlightening and comforting to me to discover other people here who struggle with this, too. Who knew? I am really sorry you feel your experience is not ok. I hope nothing I have said contributed to that.

 

Nan

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Oh, of course not, Nan!

 

I do feel my experience is okay. I feel yours is okay. I feel that *most* everyone's is okay, with the rare exception of those who experience prolonged depression. That is not okay and tragic for anyone, regardless of the cause. We are all different. We all come to our life experiences with different backgrounds. And, I think from reading this thread, perhaps different definitions of grief. For me, what some call grief, I would label nostalgia.

 

I have enjoyed reading all the different perspectives here. I treasure this board - the people, the humor, the support, the honesty, and the wisdom. It's a fantastic place!

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The person I miss now when they leave has nothing to do with the terrible grief of missing I felt, and that still hits me sometimes, over their child selves not being part of my life any more. I would feel that no matter what they were doing now. I loved those little people and I loved my life with them and that is gone forever and there is nothing whatsoever I can do about it except try not to look back. 

 

Thank God someone else understands this. My hubby (whose career life goes on the same whether we have some toddlers or one teen left), other local moms (whose kids are living at home to work or go to CC and never leave town), my family (who just think of how excited I should be with how well my kiddos are doing).... most people don't get it. :'( I can count on one hand the number of women I know who spent significant amounts of time with their dc when they were little and say they enjoyed it.

 

I've thought of starting over and doing it again (I'm 42,) but I don't know. :(

 

[sorry, this is just a reply to Nan's post, not a comment on the thread in general.]

Edited by angela in ohio
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I've thought of starting over and doing it again (I'm 42,) but I don't know. :(

 

 

 

DH and I thought about this for a long time and around this time last year we decided to adopt young children from another country... so we are thrilled, our children are thrilled, and some friends and relatives think we are certifiable. :lol:

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DH and I thought about this for a long time and around this time last year we decided to adopt young children from another country... so we are thrilled, our children are thrilled, and some friends and relatives think we are certifiable. :lol:

OT, but had to say Wow! Congratulations Gratia and DH. My friends were encouraging but I am sure a few thought I was nuts to adopt our second doggy recently. I could not explain what motivated me. I just needed to make up for that part of me that is already missing DS (and he isn't leaving yet!). But kids! Good for you!

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OT, but had to say Wow! Congratulations Gratia and DH. My friends were encouraging but I am sure a few thought I was nuts to adopt our second doggy recently. I could not explain what motivated me. I just needed to make up for that part of me that is already missing DS (and he isn't leaving yet!). But kids! Good for you!

The dog. I am deeply grateful to the dog. And my kitty. Thank God for fur families!

 

Nan

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Oh, of course not, Nan!

 

I do feel my experience is okay. I feel yours is okay. I feel that *most* everyone's is okay, with the rare exception of those who experience prolonged depression. That is not okay and tragic for anyone, regardless of the cause. We are all different. We all come to our life experiences with different backgrounds. And, I think from reading this thread, perhaps different definitions of grief. For me, what some call grief, I would label nostalgia.

 

I have enjoyed reading all the different perspectives here. I treasure this board - the people, the humor, the support, the honesty, and the wisdom. It's a fantastic place!

Phew!

 

I like our diversity here, too, and the window this board gives me into other lives. : )

 

Nan

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DH and I thought about this for a long time and around this time last year we decided to adopt young children from another country... so we are thrilled, our children are thrilled, and some friends and relatives think we are certifiable. :lol:

Ooo! Congratulations!

 

Nan

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Thank God someone else understands this. My hubby (whose career life goes on the same whether we have some toddlers or one teen left), other local moms (whose kids are living at home to work or go to CC and never leave town), my family (who just think of how excited I should be with how well my kiddos are doing).... most people don't get it. :'( I can count on one hand the number of women I know who spent significant amounts of time with their dc when they were little and say they enjoyed it.

 

I've thought of starting over and doing it again (I'm 42,) but I don't know. :(

 

[sorry, this is just a reply to Nan's post, not a comment on the thread in general.]

Hugs. We talked about it, too, but then my sister had children and my other sister and I split the daycare, and it became apparent that our children, despite being older, were still needing lots of support, and our parents got older and needed more help, and while we were doing that, the window closed. I am looking forward to grandchildren. : )

 

Nan

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Don,t feel guilty. That would be like feeling guilty about giving a sigh of relief when you finally have gotten your toddler to fall asleep and can take a nap yourself. : ) And who your children are now and how they participate in family life changes throughout their twenties, we,ve found. They don,t stop growing when they turn 18. Or even 25. Or 55.

 

Hugs,

Nan

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Of course you have. I love this statement, too.

 

But just as one has continued to have a life while children are at home, one will continue to have a life after they have left the nest.

 

I think it's about the concept of "seasons." It's not even about *preferring* one season over another. It's about recognizing and appreciating the different aspects of them. But, we have to allow ourselves to see the good in each one.

Reminds me of the song "Landslide" which was the best part of the AGT finals last night:

 

http://time.com/4494565/stevie-nicks-landslide-americas-got-talent-agt-fleetwood-mac/

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I usually have the emotional range of a Vulcan.

 

(please don't quote - I might delete later)

I have read this thread a multitude of times and haven't yet replied because my emotions have been all. over. the. place. At this point - now - a month from when we left dd at her dorm - I can say that I 100% agree with EVERYONE. I have had all the feels. I've gone from nonchalant, cool-as-a-cucumber, simply-proud to raging, painful moments of despair. It has absolutely been an emotional roller coaster (which I wasn't expecting. I was expecting DH to be the lunatic... not me!).

 

It's been tough. And wonderful. And lonely. And wildly exciting. I MISS HER FACE!!!!

 

I dunno. It's getting easier and more ... uh... rational? hahaha! I can only hope that with another week or two, emotional stability will return to my life. :D

 

(and then, she'll be home for almost all of December! So I'll get used to her face again! And her voice! And her hogging the shower!! And nagging her to do the dishes!!! Will I have to go through all of this... emotion... again?!? Gawd, I hope not! :crying: )

 

Hugs to everyone trying to wrangle their emotions during this time - whether you're feeling like a basketcase, or handling it with more fortitude - I salute you all and empathize with you all as well.

 

 

 

P.S. The worst part?? Honestly?? Is that the four-of-us-left-at-home have fallen into a remarkably efficient and harmonious routine. I have found out that it's a LOT easier to parent two teenagers than three!! Fewer opinions, fewer schedules to juggle (and dd1s schedule was always a nightmare!), fewer people to please, fewer kids to nag (and honestly, the other two are less naggable... they both pretty much keep up with their chores and schoolwork)...

 

And I have struggled with a lot of guilt over those feelings. A lot.

 

Yeah, its'a  roller coaster. One day I'm excited about the future, the next I go in to vacuum an empty bedroom and I'm losing it.

 

For me, five to four put us off balance, and four to three has brought some of it back. It's weird, and I feel guilty about it.

 

I remember someone on here posting a few years ago that what they weren't prepared for was how a person moving in and out of the home throughout the school year disrupted things. It's seriously difficult, because things are always changing, and after a few weeks of feeding a certain number of people, it changes again for a few weeks.I'm not good with transition, and I am two years into a, eight plus year transition. Ugh.

 

I'm trying to focus on the cool things. How each time someone leaves, the next young person steps up and becomes more mature. My son aged several years the day his second sister left. :D 

 

I like the relationship with them now, advisor and confidante. I remember the SWB advice to educate yourself so that when your child is a teen and asks you the hard questions, you can have intelligent discussions. In sort of the same way, I'm glad I kept up with some things in the outside world: I know the right way to tell them to address an email for the current standards, I know when they should or shouldn't address something with a professor, etc. Most of our communication now is interpersonal, college, and career advice, and I think I'd be a lot less in their life if I couldn't help with all that. I think homeschooling (and so having to be the guidance counselor) was a blessing in that way.

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I have really enjoyed reading all the posts in this thread.  It has been a month since we left to drop Sailor Dude off at college all the way across the country!  He has communicated very little to us and most of what we know is second-hand from my husband's friends who have seen him or taken him out to brunch (may I return the love to their children).

 

Please don't quote the following, but while I love our two older children dearly, they both battle with depression and our lives with them are frequently filled with drama and crises. It's a bit like running on high alert with the adrenaline pumping (for years on end) and that state has colored Sailor Dude's life, our relationship with him, and even our marriage.

 

This past Thursday, dh and I left to revisit the Steens Mountain area where we went last fall with Sailor Dude.  That was an epic camping trip. Sailor Dude is homesick for the PNW and wanted pictures of the entire trip this year.  While our camping trips with the older kids always contained drama and unpleasantness, our road trips with Sailor Dude the past few years have been sheer joy.  I honored his request and sent photos and commentary the entire trip.  He was at his first college regatta and still managed to badger us for photos. We tried to get him to send us photos and info on what he was doing in exchange for our photos, but weren't really successful.

 

It finally dawned on me that all he was really interested in was still being a part of our road trips.  One afternoon, dh and I stood looking out over a vast canyon, and the grief nearly brought me to my knees. I really, really miss him.  We replaced my elderly minivan with a Toyota 4Runner.  We were able to go down to some wild back roads this year that the minivan excluded us from last year. Ds would have loved them. 

 

On the drive home, I took a photo out the front window that was a typical Oregon highway shot of heavy stands of Douglas firs on a mountain side with mist and the wind shield wipers doing double time for the rain.  DS texted back a crying face.  That was so hard.

 

We did learn that their sailing team placed 7th out of 11, which is the highest they've ever placed.  We want to know everything about D.C., classes, and sailing and he wants to see photos of the fawn that meandered through our campsite!

 

Edited by swimmermom3
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One afternoon, dh and I stood looking out over a vast canyon, and the grief nearly brought me to my knees. I really, really miss him. 

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

I will be in the same place soon, and I am dreading it so very much.  :crying:

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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?

 

Interested to see what people say.

 

I'm usually pretty chill about this.  However, we've lived in many different places, and my kids have too.  Maybe we are just more used to moving from place to place, and change in general?  Each of our kids have lived at least a year abroad, in another country.  One dd did her entire university career in another country.  Another dd is currently spending two years teaching in France.  Technically we are empty nesters, but it seems we have a child or two or sometimes three at home living with us still up to six months out of each year.  When our dd was studying in another country, we actually had an apartment there for three months each year, and she and her dh came and lived with us during that time.

 

So, I'm sure that all of that makes a difference for me.  We are used to being far apart, yet at the same time, we somehow end up doing a lot together as a family still, even living together and traveling together.  My siblings and I have never lived in the same town (since grown up :)), yet we have a very close friendship.  We all keep in touch.  I also try and get together with my close friends who live across the country as often as I can.  We try and plan whole weekends together alone where we can just talk and talk and talk.  We'll find the cheapest flight that we can to some location in the middle.  And I drive the 3 hours to see my parents a lot.  

 

If I think to the past, to our idyllic life when all the kids were home, I certainly can give in to a type of grief, longing for that sweet time that will never happen again.  The same way I do for my own carefree childhood with my own dear family growing up.  But I don't do that often.  I try and be forward thinking.

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Just in case it helps, Lisa... I,m sure you know this but sometimes it is hard to think clearly...

 

I have been grieving for awhile now and I have found I have two choices when it comes to beloved family pastimes(or places): I can give up that passtime or I can grit my teeth and endure the pain of doing it until the pain is softened by new memories that don,t involve that person. I nearly always regret doing the first. The longer I wait, the harder it is to do the second, for some reason. I,ve had some very miserable vacations as a result of this conclusion, but as we keep doing something without a particular person, the memories become somewhat diluted. I still miss the person in general just as much but it isn,t so strongly associated with that particular place or activity that I get no pleasure from it. I could save myself a lot of misery by avoiding it, but then I would have to give it up. For example, during one winter when one of our sons was home, we went to a favourite restaurant with him frequently. When he left, going there was awful but to please my husband, I went anyway and tried to eat. Now, when we go there, I still think of that son and usually we talk about him and send him a thinking of you wish you were here text, but the expecition is the treat my husband means it to be rather than something that makes me want to curl up in a ball and wail. I know your trip was painful in numerous ways, but hopefully it won,t be as painful if you keep doing it, especially if you do it with your son now and then.

 

As far as getting no info back goes, I remember that myself. For me, it was a combination of assuming my parents knew, not having the energy to retell it all, being overwhelmed by the volume to be told, not wanting to waste my precious time with them imagining myself someplace else to tell, and not wanting to increase the distance between us by talking about things that they weren,t involved with. My poor parents. And I couldn,t explain any of this to them. Fortunately, I suspect they had done the same thing to their parents in college and understood what was going on in my head better than I could at the time. It doesn,t make it any less hurtful, though. Just easier to forgive, I think.

 

Hugs,

Nan

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I haven't read through all the posts but I just want to thank OP for bringing this out in the open. As dd told me once, "We're not the touchy-feely type of people." I've come to realize that while we may not be a demonstrative family, it doesn't mean we don't love each other just as much. I'm not a bad mom just because I didn't cry buckets or know exactly what my dc did each day.

 

I was sad then ds first when to college because he was the first. I was also sad for dd when she moved in in August, but her excitement made me also excited for her to be where she is now. I still miss both but the feeling of excitement and adventure is a much larger share of my emotions instead of sadness.

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I don't have any issue with a mom saying she's sad about her kids going off to college or moving out.

 

I take issue with people acting like I'm some kind of heartless wretch if I don't share that feeling. I just don't. I'm really happy for them and I still think we are close. Closer than many families in many ways. Not as close as I'd like in some others. But close still. I don't feel like I have "lost" anything by this phase of their lives.

 

So by all means, other moms can feel differently and I won't judge them for it at all. But I've gotten some hurtful comments about not sharing those sentiments and it's not appreciated.

 

No, I'm not glad to see them gone bc I must look forward to finally getting some of these kids out.

No, I'm not relieved to not have to put up with them anymore.

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 We want to know everything about D.C., classes, and sailing and he wants to see photos of the fawn that meandered through our campsite!

 

I hope it's ok to quote this tidbit, if not just say and I'll delete.

 

I just wanted to say that we are in the same position, except that our son went in the opposite direction, from MD to CA.  Your son is at school where?  If he's sailing it must be on the Chesapeake!  I live on the bay, but on the opposite side (which is totally different from the DC area, my area is super rural).  I hope you'll get a chance to visit him sometime while he's at school.  DC is an awesome city to visit (great, free museums, monuments, historic sites, and very clean and safe metro system that makes getting around a snap).  And you have to visit the Chesapeake Bay region at some point (I suggest early spring or late fall, our summers are sort of miserable).  It's incredibly beautiful.  Oh, and if he's at all interested in historic things, he needs to come over here to the eastern shore and visit St. Michael's and Deal Island (I live on Deal Island) and see the historic (100+ years old) sailing vessels called Skipjacks.  They are still working the Chesapeake Bay, crabbing in summer and oystering in winter, all under sail power.  There is a big Skip Jack race and festival in my area every year on Labor Day weekend.  If he's interested in that sort of thing, he should make time to see it once (the best thing is if he can get a boat ride down the bay to see it from the water, that's the best way to watch).

 

We don't hear that much from our son, either.  He's taking the whole cross continent move completely in stride.  I keep begging him to send photos of his friends and things they are doing, but don't get much out of him.  He thinks taking selfies and such is stupid.  Oh well.  At least he's not homesick.

 

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I haven't read the replies but thank you for sharing.  I wonder if it is more difficult with a daughter?  My DD and I are soooo close and I think I will struggle some when she leaves for school in less than year.  My DS is going on 16 and I can imagine a similar scenario to what you have had.  I love him, I will miss him dearly, but he is just more independent of me and our relationship, while good, is just...different.  If that makes sense?

 

 

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.

 

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I haven't read the replies but thank you for sharing. I wonder if it is more difficult with a daughter? My DD and I are soooo close and I think I will struggle some when she leaves for school in less than year. My DS is going on 16 and I can imagine a similar scenario to what you have had. I love him, I will miss him dearly, but he is just more independent of me and our relationship, while good, is just...different. If that makes sense?

It certainly does to me! I think it might be a pre-cursor to the quote, "A daughter's a daughter all her life, and a son's a son 'til he takes a wife."

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I haven't read through all the posts but I just want to thank OP for bringing this out in the open. As dd told me once, "We're not the touchy-feely type of people." I've come to realize that while we may not be a demonstrative family, it doesn't mean we don't love each other just as much. I'm not a bad mom just because I didn't cry buckets or know exactly what my dc did each day.

 

I was sad then ds first when to college because he was the first. I was also sad for dd when she moved in in August, but her excitement made me also excited for her to be where she is now. I still miss both but the feeling of excitement and adventure is a much larger share of my emotions instead of sadness.

No, thank YOU! I liked this so much I had to quote it! You articulated my feelings far better than I.

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@Hoggirl I understand your situation and I don’t see any reason to feel any different I felt the same way too when my daughter left for college.She has always been fascinated with cosmetics ever since she was small so she decided to do a cosmetic training course http://www.cestarcollege.com/courses/beauty/esthetics-diploma/ in cestar college and she loves it there.I agree with TammyS though I love my daughter very much I have found out that I could do a lot more things at home which I could not do whilst she was at home and that it having a quiet time and getting back into the habit of reading.I lost that habit over the years but I am slowly getting it back :)

 

Edited by CarrieHamilton
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