Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tears & Jeers: When The Kids Go Back To College

                                                                                                            Julie Pick

On Friday December 17, I went through my checklist before I left the house: kitchen clean, bathroom spotless, sunroom sparkling and out the door. Several hours later, I returned to a completely different home. After I made my way through the fog of  dirty laundry, shoes and wrappers, I was almost lassoed by the lap top and phone chargers laying in the middle of the floor, but fortunately the open refrigerator door broke my fall. When I thought no one could hear my screams over the blasting T.V., my 19 year old son said " Hi mom I'm home."

When we first became empty nesters last fall, I went through the 5 stages of grief. 1) DENIAL:  No my kids weren't really going to be away for so long. They'll come back to visit almost every weekend. 2) ANGER:  How could they leave me! I sat through football games and wrestling tournaments and even had to wash their smelly uniforms and this is how they repay me? 3) BARGAINING: Okay if I don't nag them  maybe they'll call once in a while. 4) DEPRESSION: Why do I need to get dressed it's only 4 P.M. I need to rest up in case they decide to call me. 5) ACCEPTANCE: Did you hear that? Nobody's arguing with me about anything! I can have my car whenever I want it! I don't have to walk around the house with a dust buster attached to my hip!

On December 19th, my older son returned from law school and the family was together again. I was back to cooking, cleaning and lots of laundry, not to mention all the late nights waiting up for them. While my younger son and I still had our share of disagreements, I noticed a quiet elegance about my firstborn. He genuinely missed his little brother and took him under his wing during his short break.

As I was driving my older son to the airport to begin his next semester, I reflected on what a positive experience law school and college have been for both of my boys. It's taught them to be more  independent and outgoing and to even have a deeper appreciation for each other. I couldn't help but cry when I kissed my heir goodbye.  Then my young silver-tongued son turned to me and said "Come on mom, I'm taking you and Nana out to lunch." I had to smile as I remembered I still had my spare at home with me for 2 more weeks.  After that it would be back to the empty nest and the remote control would be all mine.  


  1. I love how you're so passionate about what you are writing. It's great how you can find something you truly care about and make it a great story.

  2. Don't parse every word. Develop your personal style and let the words flow.

  3. Keep on writing! I am with you all the way!

  4. 8 more years until I am an empty nester. Did you want to borrow my child

  5. My 4 stages:
    1. Serene
    2. Happy
    3. Happier
    4. Happiest

  6. You made me cry.You are so great.Don't forget who made you famous.Simone

  7. Mine are still little (ish) and always here, so I cannot relate, but I can laugh. Loved your opening paragraph. Really sucked me into the story.

  8. That was GREAT....

  9. Tremendous literary prowess.