Sunday, August 24, 2008

Left Behind

I thought I was ready. After the summer we had, I thought my emotions would be in check, and my heart wouldn't break, but they weren't and it has.

Mr 18 left for college yesterday at 9:45 a.m. By 11 a.m. I was still in tears. Over the course of the summer people would ask if we were ready for him to leave. Our response was always, "oh yes, more than ready!" But we lied, all summer, we lied. We weren't ready.

Friday was spent finishing packing, doing the necessary banking, paperwork and preplanning so that Mr 18 could get out the door on Saturday morning without us. Unfortunately our schedules don't allow for time for us to drive him 7.5 hours across the state to his college of choice. Fortunately he has two friends also going to the same school. They will have to all help each other as only 1 of the parents can manage the trip.

Saturday morning came all too fast, and Mr 18 was showered and ready to go. I'd been in tears before this, but promised myself that I wasn't going to put him through his mother crying right before he left. Apparently I'm not good at keeping promises, because with his hug the floodgates opened up, and I sobbed. As he said goodbye to the girls and to a sobbing Hubby, I sat on the couch and cried into my hands. Mr 18 returned for another hug before walking out the door. We all stood to wave goodbye at the window. (of course Mr 18 forgot something and had to come back in the house, noticeable was his heaving chest and red eyes)

As he drove away we all waved, the girls retreated into their bedrooms and shut their doors. Hubby and I spent some time crying in each others arms before we each went to one of the girls, with boxes of Kleenex in hand. After calming the girls, (Miss 15 didn't need all that much calming, she headed outside to clean the car that she will now inherit as her own when she gets her license) I went out to the back deck with a cup of coffee and cried some more. Any emotion that I thought I had control of was out the window at this point.

When I dropped Mr 18 at daycare for the first time at a young 10 months of age, I cried, when I took him to kindergarten on the first day of school, I cried, when I made him switch schools in second grade, I cried. But those were tears of 6 to 7 hours of not having him with me. These were tears dedicated to 18 years of giving up my heart and soul to everything he ever needed. They were tears of a broken heart because he was doing exactly what he was supposed to do and what I spent all these years leading up to, he is supposed to leave. He is supposed to grow up and live his own life. I had 18 years to prepare for this day. I wasn't ready.

Left behind on his bed, when I could finally walk into his not-so-empty room, was his blankets that he has slept with since he was a baby, and the Elmo that he has slept with since he was 2. They were laying on his now stripped bed. Again with the tears and the emotions that apparently aren't controlled at all. I wonder how hard it was for him to leave them behind, and I wonder how hard it was for him to leave us behind.


Ronica said...

I'm bawling, and I haven't even left her for more than a few hours. I can't imagine what you're going through, but know you did a great job and he will always come home to you. My guess is he'll do some serious crying when he is alone, and you're going to get lots of phone calls in the next few days.

Anonymous said...

He will come home, again and again. Your family will have a much better relationship with him because he will come to understand "family". Chin up! BTW: you sure know how to make the tears flow.

DeeAnn said...

Agreed: You sure know how to make the tears flow. I'm bawling (and I was already stuffy to begin with, I think I'll order another box of kleenix from the front desk).

Good advice in these two previous posts so I won't repeat what they've said.

Just remember that I'm thinking of you guys and just wish I had more to offer to help ease the hurt.

Take another picture of Elmo and send to J on his phone so he has that each night to look at! Or take photos throughout the house- of Elmo eating dinner with you, watching TV etc. and tell him that Elmo is filling in for him till he gets back!

Anonymous said...

Ditto on the tears from me as well. I love D's idea of Elmo filling in. Maybe Elmo can have adventures like Flat Stanley. :) I remember leaving home for college, and there is one thing that I can assure you: it was not easy for him to leave his family behind. And even though he has only just left, a small care package from home would probably be a welcome sight in the mailbox. Hang in there.... love, j.

Anonymous said...

Yes, remember to send notes. Everyone likes to get mail.

Allen Fieldhouse said...

yes, you needed a disclaimer to have kleenex ready when reading this post. just left isaac for his first day of kindergarten & managed to do so with no tears! then i came home to check the blogs...anyway, be glad you are sending him out with the the values & skills you've instilled in him since he was a baby. there are a lot of kids who have to leave home without having much parental support.
great post!