It was a day I knew was coming, but I still could not believe it when it finally arrived. My son is starting college. He is my first kid going away to school and when I hugged him goodbye, I was pretty proud of myself that I didn’t really lose it.  It helps that he is less than an hour away and rooming with a fellow rugby player from his high school.

The weeks before that I was in my glory.  I was shopping for the necessary bedding, blankets, shelves, shower supplies, hamper, food, and anything else I could think of that he might need. I actually enjoyed it. As I told my son,  "Mom is on it...this is what I do!"  When I finally piled everything up in the family room and loaded it into our truck, I could not believe how much stuff there was.

college truckload

Moving day was pretty smooth. Since he is an athlete, he got to school a week early and we were able to move him in without much fuss. Of course I made up his bed and tried to organize him, but I am sure that won't last long.  My son, husband, daughter and I all had lunch in the cafeteria and when it was time to said goodbye I got a little weepy, but I knew I would be seeing him in a few days.  He is in a program for his dairy allergy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, so I will be picking him up and taking him to Philly every two weeks.  Instead of looking at it as I chore, I see it as a blessing and opportunity to spend some time with my kid.

Every family is different, and I think I would be a lot more nervous if I had to get on a plane to see him. Plus, we have agreed on a system to touch base.  I text him a quick goodnight in the evening and he sends back a thumbs up, smiley face or quick text. It is simple a way to make sure he knows his dad I are thinking about him and to be sure that he is okay, without hovering over him. Although I have a daughter still at home, it is an adjustment not having him around. I can only imagine how parents feel when everyone is gone.

Empty nest syndrome is a real thing.  We often define ourselves by our roles in our life, such as mom or dad.  So when our last child leaves home, parents often struggle with a sense of loss, not just because they miss their child, but because their identities have been significantly changed.  If your last kid has left home, tell us how you are dealing with it and hopefully it can help others in the same boat.  Please share your story about saying goodbye to your college-bound kid, especially if you are now an empty-nester.

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