August 16, 2012

Minus 1

For all of you that have raised children through to adulthood - I have new respect and admiration for you.

As with so many other milestones in life, dropping my daughter off at college brought a new realization and appreciation for my mother.  I think back to all the times in my life that I struck out on my own and now share in the bittersweet emotions that my mom must have felt.  I suppose having a close family is key, I am sure there are some parents and kids in the world that are glad to be away from each other.  In fact, I think there were probably several examples in the dorms yesterday, as there were kids shooing their parents out the door, as well as parents that were hightailing it to the parking lot when we were arriving.

We stayed until they kicked us out - Boom clearly valued our time there.  In fact, we missed both parent briefings in exchange for helping her get her room squared away - or at least livable until the military structure kicks in and they are instructed on where things need to be.

Boom will thrive in this environment.  We were pleased with 99% of the students we met - especially the nice, clean cut young men that took the initiative to go door to door and introduce themselves to their new 'fish buddies' and families. 

The 1% that we were less than thrilled about, is, of course, Boom's roommate.  We aren't yet sweating the arrangement, as we aren't very confident that she will make it through Freshman Orientation Week (the roommate, not Boom).  I don't have any statistics, but my guess is that the wash out rate for kids whose parents forced them to join the Corps, is probably the highest.  Ironically, we noticed this girl right off, as she and her family arrived when we did and parked next to us.  When she emerged from the car with a shiny silver Olivia Newton-John-esque head band and suede fringed purse, we wondered aloud how she ended up there.

When we got back to the room after all the boxes had been delivered (nice way to move freshmen in!), Boom walked in to a sea of pink on one side of the room.  On the official packing list was 'desk lamp'.  The roomie brought a pink satin shaded number that would look perfect in The Princesses' room.  It matches her pink plush blanket.  The roomie had to settle the division of bathroom shelves with Boom first thing, so that she could display the 11 shades of nail polish she brought with her.  She hasn't ordered books for the term that begins in 9 days, in fact, she asked Boom where she was supposed to go to do that.  She hung her 'cutest' purse from the corner of her bunk and explained that the three polka dot covered scrapbooks that she was displaying on her bookshelf were her absolute favorite.  What she didn't bring were school supplies, required PT gear or a clue on where her car is supposed to be parked.

I only cried for a hundred miles or so on the way home.  Boom sounded good when she called last night.  Perhaps playing mother hen to the clueless roomie (that was crying over the make-up ban) will fill the family void for her.  It is a cruel irony that the best things for our kids are so often the most painful for us.  I sure do miss her.    


KatWA55 said...

I guess I'm not totally jaded by the fact that I have both of my daughters and a homeless niece living with us and that I long to be an empty nester again. Your story made me cry right along with you. My oldest just got engaged, so there's a light at the end of this tunnel but engagement brings other challenges--like planning a wedding. Why am I not an excited mother of the bride?

kerrcarto said...

The way my two were acting today............

CenTexTim said...

I'm with kerrcarto.

Our son goes off to college next year, our daughter the year after that. I'm looking forward to being an empty-nester.

My wife, of course, feels differently. She'll probably cry while I'm opening the champagne.