Thursday, September 03, 2015

Hello/Goodbye

It’s the time of year for hellos and goodbyes. Hello to the new school year, new friends, new schedules. Goodbye to sleeping in, vacation days, lazy summer schedules. And for some of us, we have to say hello to a new family dynamic as we say goodbye to our college students.

I’m getting to be a pro at this hello/goodbye thing. Michael started his senior year of college this week. Amy began her sophomore year this week, too. The transition from a household of five to three again feels gloomy
Amy's room on move-in day.
and at the same time okay. Sean, Rebecca and I know what to expect now: quiet. With the two big kids out, things get very, very still around here. We’ll like it for a while. Then we’ll need a visit, an infusion of their energy. And then we’ll be okay with the quiet again.

This ebb and flow of a household in transition can’t be explained. I have a dear friend who just sent off her oldest – I want to tell her what to expect, but there’s no explaining it. You just have to live it. You live through the drop-off. Then you live through the first few days with the void of his presence. Then you live through the first visit. Then Christmas break. And before you know it, the kid you thought you’d never see again (figuratively, thankfully) is home for summer break.

This season of parenting is the perfect example of mixed emotions. There’s so much joy and so much sadness. Reminds me of Solomon and his words in Ecclesiastes: there’s a season for everything. Of course, when I read this as a younger mom, I thought the seasons would be long – I didn’t realize the seasons could be different minutes of each day! For instance, there’s a time to mourn (when you wave goodbye) and a time to dance (when you get the text that the roommate is a great guy), a time to weep (when you pass by the empty bedroom) and a time to laugh (when you remember a fun family time).

The emotional gymnastics of college moms could qualify us for the Olympics!

So goodbye to the lazy days of summer and hello to the new school year. And here’s to enjoying the coming days with all the emotional twists and turns they bring.

If only that would could for actual physical exercise…

Michael's room.

Just once, I'd like them to simply pose like the normal people they see around them.

Sean sent flowers to mark the first day of the school year - 
some of the most lovely flowers he's ever sent.