The New Normal

It’s been a week since our son left for college and I still close his bedroom door every night and open it in the morning.

I have made a habit of closing my boys’ bedroom doors when they are gone for the night to avoid that moment of panic when I wake up in the middle of the night, half-asleep, see one of their doors open and think they are gone.

Of course, now it’s the opposite. I open my door in the middle of the night, see his closed door and forget for a minute that he is not here. Then I remember he’s not behind that door and, ugh, tears spring to my eyes.

This will take a little getting used to.

I asked a friend of mine who just sent her youngest of three off to college if it ever feels normal once your kids have left and she told me that you just get used to the “new normal.”

So that’s what I’m trying to do.

I know that moving out and on is normal, it’s just a natural progression of my kid’s growth, like moving from walking to running or going from half-day of school to full-day of school (when, naturally, I cried). Every new stage, every new milestone in my children’s lives, has required an adjustment in our lives, a tweak in our schedules, a shift in perspective.

But this is different.

Even though every one of those stages changed our definition of what was normal for us, none seemed to shout, “Nothing will ever be the same!” like this stage did.

Our whole world is a little off right now. Now, I set the table for three instead of four (and yes, I burst into tears the first time I had to do that), I had to stop myself from buying his favorite cereal and ice cream today, and I have to get used to how quiet the house is with one kid instead of two.

But, I know we will adjust. Just like we adjusted to having a home with two people to a home with three and then four, we will adjust.

For right now, however, I’ll keep closing his door at night and opening it in the morning. Then, one day, just maybe, I’ll forget to close the door.

And just like that, that will become our new normal.

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9 responses to this post.

  1. yep, great account of how it feels.

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Beautifully written, Connie. We’re years off from this stage, but I’m already dreading it.

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  3. Posted by Mary Kakavas on September 3, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Every adjustment in the lives of your children has an affect on you as a parent. Even
    when they marry. You still wonder if they are safe. You worry shy they don,t call as often, but you adjust. It does get better.

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  4. Oh friend.
    I dread this.
    LOVE and HUGS.

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  5. You’re not alone. A friend told me today that she broke her “no texting at the dinner table” rule last night and texted their daughter, a freshman in college, so she could feel like her daughter was joining the family for their meal.

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  6. […] we’ve spent the past 50+ days trying to get used to you being gone. We’ve adjusted to your empty bedroom, our earlier bed times, and the lower food bills, not to mention the […]

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  7. […] months ago I wrote about how my oldest son was off to college and I worried about how I was going to adjust. I was so sad and so convinced that I would never grow accustomed to setting the table for three […]

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  8. […] my son first left for college I didn’t think I would ever get used to our “New Normal.” I worried that I would never grow accustomed to setting the table for three people instead of […]

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