Well here we are. August 1st and that means tuition bills are due and (for many of us) our eldest child is getting ready to go to college for the first time.
I feel like we've prepared for this for a long, long time. We watched our friends do it, we've listened to their advice and now it's our turn.
So far they have been right: This is a difficult, sad, often grief-filled time in which you struggle to deal with the impending separation--but most of the time you will be thinking--hey can you get out of my house now?
Yes, just as I was counseled by the wise women who have gone before me, a young person between his or her senior year of high school and first year of college is umm, well, kind of a pain in the neck. This is nature's way of making it easier to say goodbye.
I'm not sure what it is a mom might find annoying....Maybe it's the way he sleeps until then spends the early evening hours with his girlfriend and the late nights on the computer until the wee hours. Could it be his general attitude that he no longer has any family obligations but is still entitled to the whole free food/free laundry thing? Or the way he leaves his socks on the kitchen floor and sometimes his pants and shirt too when he comes home hours after you have already been in bed. Perhaps it's that he's taken to showering in your shower (it's closer than his) so when you go to shower there are no clean towels.
It's true, I will cry when I leave him at the dorm but he's virtually already gone. I only see the back of his head as he plays on the computer or leaves the house yet again to "hang" with someone.
His sisters and I have taken to talking about him as if he's gone. "Hey, can I put my bunnies in Atticus's room now?" one asks. "I'm still here!" he cries indignantly.
The other sister (and I) can't wait to clear out the hovel in the corner of the kitchen that has been his computer/work space. We pour over Houzz online and pick out new furniture to fill in the space. (That corner below...what do you think?)
I remember when my mom went to parent orientation at Michigan State for my sister (the eldest) and came back and said, "They told us not to turn their bedrooms into sewing rooms. They need to know they're welcome at home." So at first I said no to the bunny hutch idea. But then a wise friend suggested, "Why don't you just move the rabbits back out when he comes home? You can enjoy the extra space while he's away."
So we're all a bit sad that Atticus will be leaving soon (in twenty-four days, three hours, and six minutes).
But we're also looking forward to an actual kitchen table, a sock-free floor, and clean dry towels.
(A special shout out to Kelly and Wendy who have been there from kindergarten...can you believe it's really happening?)