What a Difference a Year Makes


What a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time nothing could have stopped me from picking up my older son from college—not my bad back, not my schedule, nada. I had been waiting the entire year to have him back home and the pick up would mark the first day of the summer together again!


I didn’t care about the 3+ hour drive to pick him up, followed by the 3+ hours of organizing/packing/loading/of his college life into the car and the 3+ hour drive back home within 24 hours. It didn’t matter that my fantasy of engaging in deep meaningful conversation with my son was shattered because he slept while I drove and didn’t utter a peep except to ask when we would be home and when we could stop for food.

It was all good because he was coming home!

Well, that was then and this is now.

Now my back is kinda sore, we’ve been traveling a lot recently and, well, I have this class that I’m taking on Tuesday afternoons –just for fun – and I would miss it if I had to pick him up.

I know. I know. I DO suck as a parent!

In case you think I am an ogre, I did try to figure out a way to pick him up and make it to my class. For instance, he mentioned that some people were staying for a few extra days to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. “You should stay!” I exclaimed probably too enthusiastically. “That sounds like so much fun!”

“Nah, I’ll come home Tuesday,” he said.

“I can drive down over the weekend to pick up your stuff and you can take the bus home,” I suggested. “In case you change your mind at the last minute.”

(See, I am so thoughtful.)

“No, that’s ok. I hate the bus,” he said.


“What if I drop off the car over the weekend and I take the bus back? Then you can stay as long as you want and drive home!”


See, I tried.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I can’t wait to have him home.


I would just like someone else to pick him up so I can get to my class.

What? He’s going to be home all summer; there will be plenty of time for me to be with him.

It’s amazing what you can get used to, right?

When 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 four or get used to how quiet the house was with only one kid left. I never imagined not wanting to spend as much time as possible with him even if that included driving in a car while he slept next to me.

Well, things change.

That doesn’t mean that my heart doesn’t ache when he leaves but, for now, I know he is coming home. And, in this case, he will be home for three months – three months that will require a whole other set of changes that I have to get used to.

Last summer we had an unexpected bumpy re-entry when my son came home from school. All visions I had of a warm and fuzzy return were marred with power struggles and readjustments.

“Stay in your room until you remember what it’s like to live with people who are not 19-year-old boys!” I remember screaming, ah, saying.

Those first few weeks were not pretty.

We eventually adjusted to that change and then again when he left for college for his sophomore year. This summer, I am sure there will be similar changes that we need to adjust to so why rush it?

So, yes, while I am excited for him to be coming back he’ll be home soon enough. In the mean time, my husband can get a head start on the joys of summer with our 20-year-old.

I’m off to class.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jenni on May 3, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Yes I can certainly relate! I don’t think that makes us bad parents, maybe we are just wiser now and we know our expectations and hopes are not shared by our older children in the same way! Although we love our kids to bits I think it is often best to accept things and enjoy our own lives as you are so wisely doing.



    • I agree, Jenni, I think we figure it out after awhile. I felt guilty about it for a day and I’m so glad I didn’t go. The best part was I thought I was missing out on something or I was doing something wrong but it turned out that nothing happened at all – and I got to go to class.



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