TR just returned home from college a few days ago. You have no idea how hard it was for me to send her off to college last September. I know it is a difficult thing for all parents, no matter what the circumstances. (Well, maybe not all parents. I have a friend who sent her kid packing because she could not handle his teen antics for one more second! She was overjoyed he was gone!)
When TR left, I was in the midst of excruciating physical pain from the car accident and multiple surgeries. My life was out of control and spinning in a downward spiral which I could not control. (Yes, OK, I am a little bit of a control freak. A car accident, multiple failed surgeries, daily PT with The Torturer, Briefcase traveling nonstop and never, ever, being home to help with anything, debilitating pain, daughter leaving … it was all out of my control!) I was vulnerable, my defenses were wiped out. I felt beat to hell from life itself. And my firstborn, my only daughter, was moving away from me at the same time.
I was that mom. The one who cried the entire way up to drop her at college. Yes, I cried for hours as we drove, snot dripping from my nose, salty tear streaks, and red, unattractive, hive-like splotches all over my face. I valiantly tried, but failed, to focus my thoughts on anything other than the fact I was losing my daughter forever!
I was the mom who could barely squeak out a "good-bye" because I was sobbing so hard and clutching her in a death grip. I am terrible at good-byes and I don't think it would have ever been easy. However, I was going through so much at the time and TR's leaving was another major change to deal with. Honestly, I was not strong enough to even handle the pain I was in. I wanted her to have a wonderful college experience, I did not want her worried about me or feeling guilty about leaving. Nevertheless, I sobbed uncontrollably.
TR did have a wonderful first year in college. And the big surprise? How fast it went by. (As fast as a speeding train! Ha!) It seems like we just dropped her off and now we moved her stuff back in. I am, happily, in a little bit better place myself now. Still in pain, but in manageable pain vs. excruciating, "about to go totally out of my mind" pain. This summer TR will be traveling so we won't have her around much. This time, however, I am better able to deal with it.
Part of the reason is that once your teen moves out, it is a bit of an adjustment to have them move back in. Not that I don't absolutely love TR and want her home. It's just that …
This is what her room looks like.
She has been home for only a few days, but already has friends from college staying with us. I love her friends and I love having lots of people around, but … look at her room! Her friends are staying in there too? Plus, it didn't occur to her to ask about convenient dates for her friends to visit. She's used to living on her own and doing what she wants, when she wants. She is not going to be home much this summer so she invited house guests to stay here at a time when she felt it worked best for her.
Me? I have an overbooked week and will barely be home for a minute. Cooking and cleaning for house guests? Well, it isn't going to happen. I feel bad about that. I enjoy being a great hostess … usually. This time TR will be on her own, and that's okay. It will be a good learning experience for her. Just like we both had to adjust to her leaving for college, now we need to make adjustments with her return.
And her room? TR says she's "been meaning to get all unpacked and clean up the mess". Let's hope so! In the meantime, I just shut her bedroom door (and my mouth!) as I walk by.