Monday, June 30, 2008

Reality Sets In

We attended Eustacia's college orientation this weekend, so there is clearly no point in pretending she will not be moving out of the house in August. Here I was going day by day in complete oblivion, making meals and doing laundry and having daily conversations with the girl as if she had not grown up and were not about to leave the nest I spent years making for her. And now I have been yanked back into reality.

To make matters worse, yesterday afternoon we pushed a cart around Target and filled it with things like blankets and sheets, a lamp, some towels, and a pillow. This week, we may investigate buying a bike for riding around campus and the surrounding town. The campus is of such a manageable size, though, with no more than a ten-minute walk from point to point, Eustacia may decide a bike will be more trouble than it's worth.

She has chosen Baldwin-Wallace College in northern Ohio. It's a small liberal arts college in a suburb of Cleveland with small houses scattered around campus so it's like going to school in a neighborhood. The school mascot is a yellow jacket, not ever to be confused with a bumble bee. They are both stinging insects that cause fear, but the names conjure up different images. You wouldn't be very intimidated by a team with the word "bumble" on their jerseys.

The administration held a session on making good choices, which means making good choices about alcohol. We watched a film about the dangers of high-risk drinking, which is four to five drinks in a sitting. On average 47% of US college students consider themselves high-risk drinkers, although I have to wonder how honest students are when approached with such a survey. Some are likely to exaggerate their drinking for the sake of being smart asses, and some are likely to deny their drinking because they're afraid they'll get into trouble. Eustacia's college believes their high-risk drinkers make up only 30% of the campus population. Eustacia, who is not a drinker of any sort, intends to align herself with the other 70%.

So, now it's clear I'll have to face the exit of my youngest child. Growing up is inevitable, I know, but when your kids are little, and you're sitting at the table with Play Dough and Legos, and when you're packing lunches and reading picture books and arranging sleep overs, you don't stop to think about how some day it will all completely change. Someday you'll be sitting at the table without children, and you'll have to find something other than making clay snakes and mixing a batch of mac & cheese to keep yourself busy.

13 comments:

dive said...

Sounds like a nice college, Robyn.
The Yellow Jackets were a great blues band, by the way.
And it's not too far from home, either.

As for finding things to do; I would have thought a writer, artist, craftswoman, cook, musician and all round over-talented person such as yourself would find boredom impossible.

Shan said...

I agree with Dive that you won't lack for activity Robyn. But I can also certainly empathize the heart pains as your youngest leaves home. I've been the youngest leaving home and felt it then. And now, as my boys shoot up in a blur, I can already imagine the empty hole they will leave. :( :) It's a proud/sad combo isn't it?

lynn said...

Ah yes, but remember you are not 'without' children, Robyn - they are still there, out there, enjoying new experiences, living their lives with the confidence you instilled in them. Being the competent adults you hoped and prepared for, whom you cleverly put in this world. Yes, let's give ourselves some credit! he he.

Sounds a bit cheesey i know, but as a mother myself, i find this comforting when i'm missing them - which is every minute by the way!

Sister # 1 said...

Robyn, Lynn is right! This is what you have spent the last 18 years getting Eustacia ready for. And, you have done a great job. Plus, it's not like your girls still don't need you - even if they leave Ohio. They will always need you - you have to pay the roaming charges on for the cell phone - hehe.

Being the ultimate volunteer that you are, your days will be packed by Christmas.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I have sent two of my three off to college and they have both graduated now. It was the hardest thing (for me) and best thing (for them) to see them go do that wonderful thing. My youngest is eight and when it is her time to go to college, I'm enrolling too.

Scout said...

I know you are all right, that I will have plenty to do because I'm not one to just sit and stare. But it's still a tough transition.

Alifan said...

My heart goes out to you Robyn...but remember they only grow up and leave, but they are always with you in your heart...and you will always be there for them....

And then you can post great baby pic's on your blog as Dive has just done!!!!

MmeBenaut said...

It must be very difficult Robyn. I have never known the tug of a child of my own leaving to go to college but I always feel a tug whenever Jodie (my stepdaughter) leaves. As close as I am to my little granddaughter, it is her mother who pulls at my heart strings and I haven't had Jodie live with me for 15 years!
You will fill your days as always and perhaps you can plan a few trips here and there to see your girls and the wider world again too. You could come down here for example and we could wrap you in big bear hugs.

Maria said...

I just spent the last three days in my house with the electricity out trying to keep an eight year old entertained. I can't tell you how many times I felt like time was inching by in loooonnnnggg increments.
Thank you for the food for thought.

Rich said...

Good post Scout. I can identify with some of your feelings. Although I still have my youngest at home for another two years. My wife and I recently got a dog to take us through those empty nest years.

Rich said...

Oh and good choice on the school. I truly think the smaller liberal arts colleges are a great place to start.

pianist friend said...

Well...since I know both you and Eustacia, I can say with great confidence that you will BOTH do well! It will be a great time for you and husband to do lots of stuff together, and of course Eustacia will enjoy exploring the "real" world out there, and making new best friends.
P.S. The yellow jacket is Cedarville's mascot also!
Love ya Scout!
PF

savannah said...

late to respond, but trust me, sugar...they always come back home! ;-) xoxox