On Dropping Your Oldest Child Off To College
On Sunday, August 14, 2022, my husband, daughter, and I drove my oldest child to college to move him into his dorm. After a long summer of partying and late nights, I felt as if I was ready for him to go. I could finally get a decent night’s sleep without constantly checking Life 360 and waiting up for him to get home night after night. No one tells you about the summer between graduation and the start of college; it’s brutal. I’ll leave that for another post!
For so long I was stuck in what I like to call “the hard.” Keeping track of 4 children in 4 different schools, making sure parent school deadlines were met, homework was done, school lunch accounts were funded, papers were signed, and managing the after-school activities are only a fraction of “the hard;” the list goes on and on.
With that being said, I thought I was ready to let go of a little bit of it. I was ready to lighten my load. My mind went immediately to one kid down, 3 to go, so let’s do this! However, hindsight is 20/20. I was thinking logistically not emotionally. Our move-in time of 5:00pm approached, and we had everything ready to go. It was not until we pulled up to the dorm that I fully understood the reality of the situation. At that moment it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was about to give up a slice of the hard. I saw parents leaving their children and crying as they walked out of the building.
Within five seconds, my life flashed back to the time when he was born and I first saw his little face. I then had to ask myself, was it all just a dream? That’s when I realized that everything great yet challenging happened in “the hard.” The bottom line is that “the hard” never goes away; it shifts.
The hard is lighter but the load on my heart is heavier. Am I happy for my son? Absolutely! Am I sad? Of course. I’m mourning the loss of a school age child that used to reside in my home for 18 years. There is a void in our home; the first week I found myself weeping at random times. Fortunately, I have 3 other children that I still have time with, and I now approach things a bit differently knowing this.
In essence, I’m trying to get ahead of the goodbye, if that’s even possible. At the end of the day, I know he’s happy and he is going to enjoy the college experience. I now look forward to his visits, doing his laundry, and all the things a mom loves doing when their child returns home. It’s his turn now to write his own story and I cannot wait to watch!
Vivian Marino is a stay-at-home mom of 4 kids ages 18, 16, 14, and 8 who also recently launched Alliette NOLA. She’s been married to her husband Mark for 19 years and they live in the New Orleans Lakefront area. When she’s not busy attending football games, soccer games, or doing endless loads of laundry, she enjoys her weekly date nights with her husband and spending time with her kids doing outdoor activities. Her passion is all things fitness given that she has her Master’s in Exercise Physiology. On any given day, you can find her doing her favorite Hour Blast class or trying any new workout out in town. During the summer months, she hits the mountains and the trails doing what she loves the most … hiking! The harder the climb, the better the view!