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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Third Year of Being an Empty Nester is Different, Yet Still Hard

I have just recently returned from dropping off my youngest child at her college campus.  She is beginning her Junior year and is living in her sorority house, located on, guessed it....the third floor.  She has two roommates, one who I know well (I'd welcome her into our family in a heartbeat; she's that adorable) and a new girl who's beautiful and seems really nice, too.   Their room has the feeling that it stepped right out of a fairy tale story, with little nooks and arched doorways and worn wood floors.

It took two SUVs that belong to my sister's family and a crew of three to bring up all the clothes, shoes, bedding  and miscellaneous junk that makes up my daughter's college room.  (Thanks, Richie, for carrying all the heavy boxes up three floors of winding staircases!)

The day before we headed to school, we stopped at a CVS and bought enough toiletries to last a year.  We were their best sale of the day, for sure.  But I felt like doing it for made me feel as if she was set up properly.  My role now is provider of shampoo and Q-tips.  It helps when she is so appreciative, too.

Now, I know it can be very different with boys and some girls, but Laura doesn't mind me offering decorating tips and suggestions.  In fact, she wants me to tell her where the bed is best suited.  I am thrilled, because the last thing I wanted to do, was say goodbye until Thanksgiving or Christmas.  So we decorate and make the bed and hang up 4000 small spaghetti-strapped shirts and dresses until the closet pole almost collapses.....and it's fun.  Seriously.

One of the roommates' Mom is also diligently setting her daughter's room up at the same time.  I cannot help but think she doesn't want to leave either.  She is taping hundreds of pictures up on the wall when I step over to introduce myself.  I think Mom's all over the country suddenly become interested in dorm decorating, whether they have any interest in this sort of thing in their own homes.  We are treasuring those precious moments when you can do something for your daughter and with not too much cost involved.

The emotions can sometimes get in the way and one should be particularly careful when you step into a Target store, for example!  I walked out with a small flat-screened TV for their room that I thought would look adorable between two of the small fairy tale niches in the center of the room.  I cannot even bring myself to tell Bill (my husband) about this purchase.  I just did it and watched how excited the girls were.  Impulse, emotional purchases are very, beware to all the empty nest parents dropping their children off to school.

I say parents instead of just Moms because recently I ran into a family that will become empty nest parents when their youngest heads out for college.  They are a very close-knit family.  Both the Mom and the Dad had tears well up as we discussed the big day coming soon. (I bet their son's room will be well decorated).......................................

Well, my advise is to save a little extra money so that you can do whatever it is that will make your child a little more comfortable in their new home away from home and make you a little more comfortable about the split.  Enjoy the few moments when they still want your help...before they are texted to meet the boys down the street for lunch.  And, it allows you to walk away with a smile on both of your faces, too.   Good luck!
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Blogger Pam McCoy said...

Beth, I can relate with your story! I just dropped my youngest off to his last year of college.

I was lucky too that not only my son but his two roommates welcomed my help moving them into their new house.

They sent me a text message when I was sitting on the airplane to go home "thanks for "mom"enizing our home! That made my day and the whole trip worth while.

Thanks for sharing your story!

September 14, 2010 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger beth said...

I love Pam's story! "mom-enizing" is my new favorite word!

September 14, 2010 at 12:30 PM  

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