Thursday, February 2, 2012

What I Know Now That I Didn't Know Then

Grams and Grandad love being empty nesters. But, getting to this point in life wasn't easy. We always knew that our kids would go to college and I was determined that they should have the experience of going away to college. I've told you before that I didn't want to know exactly what my children were doing while they were away at college. But again, getting to that point was probably the hardest thing I've ever done.

When we took Katy to San Antonio as a freshman, she had decided to go into the roommate lottery. She wanted to meet new people and have new experiences. At that time UTSA only had one dormitory, so instead, she was going to live in an on-campus apartment. Each apartment had four bedrooms and two bathrooms with a tiny living area and kitchen.

When we arrived on campus for "move in day" we checked in at the office, picked up the keys, and went to the apartment to start moving in. There were young people everywhere and upper class-men and student athletes who were helping new students move in. We opened the apartment door to find a stack of empty liquor bottles, empty beer cans, and a young man passed out asleep on the sofa. Clearly, there had been a party there the night before. It seems Katy had been assigned to an apartment where three of the rooms were already occupied by much older students. At least one of them was a senior, maybe even a 5th or 6th year senior. One of them was an art major whose artworks featured demons. The other had not arrived yet.

As you might expect, I was not a happy mama. I wanted to go and have her re-assigned to another apartment. She insisted that it would be okay. A small argument ensued and she finally said emphatically, "No, Mom. I can handle this!"

So we moved her in, unpacked her, took her out for dinner, and left her standing in the parking lot waving at us. Getting in that car and driving away was, without a doubt, absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I was crying when we left San Antonio, and I was still crying two hours later when we got home. But, she was right, she did handle it. She handled it beautifully. And at the end of the semester, she moved to an off campus apartment with only one roommate whom she had met at work.

Sometimes its hard to decide whether to hold on or to let go.


  1. I can totally relate to this...letting them go is not easy!

  2. I can so relate to this today. Justin, my eldest who is in the Air Force, is going to New Orleans this weekend with some of his buddies. They have a full list of activities which include spending the night there. I am a basket case today. I don't know these guys. I don't know what they are going to do. I don't know..... so much!! But, I DO know my son. I know he's always been careful choosing his friends. I know he usually makes good choices. So, I'm saying prayers for their safety and wisdom this weekend and trusting that all will be well. And, on Sunday afternoon, if he hasn't called me yet to say he's back in Biloxi safe and sound, I will call him. :) This Mama can only be "cool" for so long. 48 hours is my limit. LOL

  3. I sleep a lot better when I don't know what my moved-out-of-the-house kids are doing.

  4. Oh, yes. The driving away after leaving a baby at college is so, SO hard. This resonates—and my daughters all had relatively good roommates.

    The push-pull of let go-hold on is THE biggest challenge of parenting, always, in all ways, I think. Surely the biggest lesson we parents learn...again and again and again.

    Loved this!

  5. Wow, that had to be really hard.....We had some similar situations with Megan. Thank goodness those days are over.

    Your daughter is very strong. This is a great compliment to you and your husband.