My son just moved out and took me with him

Thrilled and devastated at the same time.

I’m thrilled because my son, who I had when I was 21 years old, was accepted into Waterloo University. He’s chosen to live at college so at the beginning of September we packed all his things and moved him into his tiny little dorm on campus.

When I say we, I mean I folded and fretted and packed way too much and agonized over what he wasn’t bringing with him.

His father moved him. I didn’t get to go for another two weeks. This was the agreed upon time that we had all decided was a safe margin for me to visit. And I admit fully that the both of them were right. I was definitely at risk of doing one of three things:

  1. Yelling at someone about their incompetence and therefor humiliating my 18 year old son in front of his new potential friends.
  2. Getting frustrated about something and making a big scene, and perhaps throwing something out a window and therefor humiliating my 18 year old son in front of his new potential friends
  3. Cry hysterically and beg him to come home, therefor humiliating my 18 year old son in front of his new potential friends.

Yes, one or all of these was an absolute certainty. I admit my fuse is short, and lit 12 months of the year. And truthfully I wasn’t sure how I was going to react when the time finally came. I’d never sent a child to college before. I’d never had one move out. I’d never been away from him for more than 5 days in his entire life, and even then he was with family.  We were young when we had him and I grew up while I was raising him, so we kind of became adults together in a lot of respects.

So I let his dad move him. I packed, I shopped, and ok, I cried a little, but he still wouldn’t cave and let me hold hands like we used to in the car when he was a toddler.

I’m thrilled, I’m proud. I am so happy that I’ve raised a smart, confident, driven man who is ready to be out on his own and take his place in the world. That’s my job. That’s always been my job. And he’s been a success on every level.

But I also feel like half of my personality went with him. There’s a strange empty space there that I can’t quite describe. It’s not good, it’s not bad, but it’s ultra-weird to be sure. It feels like I’m only half the person I was two months ago. Everyone tells me it will pass, but I’m not so sure.

Until then, I DO get to visit now, and I got to bring him all that stuff he insisted he didn’t need and then texted me for later. He keeps me updated on his classes and he’s making friends and loving his life. So although I’m a bit adrift, I am happy for him and hopeful that if I’m needed he will call.

But he still won’t hold hands.

6 thoughts on “My son just moved out and took me with him

  1. I felt so emotional reading this because I know how hard it is when your kids leave home. I wrote a recent blog on Empty Nester Syndrome? 5 Ways to Find Purpose – both my kids left home for university within 2 years and I felt like I had lost that sense of purpose in life. I did not have the same sort of experience as you since I had my kids later in life, and embarrassingly, I was ready for my kids to leave. But then I realized I missed them so much – that they added so much importance to my life. I can tell you, when they come home, it’s a different kind of relationship. In fact, you may actually find your son suddenly wants to hold hands! As you’ve grown up together, you’ll continue to grow up together and that love will never wane but grow stronger. Like I said in my blog, just find things to bring back that purpose in your life.

  2. I have to start this by saying that I adore your writing style. As much as it pulled at my heart strings, it also made me laugh. I can see so much of myself in this, and it both excites me and scares me. I have two young daughters, born within just less than 2 years of each other, so I feel like I won’t get much of a relief from these feelings before my youngest leaves the nest. That being said, as much as it terrifies me to think of them being out on their own, being adults, your post gave me so much hope. Hope that I will have raised young adults ready to thrive, and taking a part of me with them. Absolutely loved this.

  3. I enjoyed your post. I have had similar experiences with having my daughter leave home for the first time for a year missions posting. But it was more difficult as it was in Copenhagen, Denmark so once she left at the airport I knew I wouldn’t be able to pop around and see her for almost a year. That was difficult. I totally relate with the emptiness feeling and a part of you being ripped away. As a Mom we nurture and care for them in such a way that our kids are a part of us. Its exciting to see them grow and mature into young adults and neat to see then experience life. It gets easier as time goes on. My daughter its now working in Montreal for a year so a real bonus I can see her within a couple of hours. So that is great.

  4. While I don’t know quite what you’re going through – I’ve been on the child side of this. My mum and I are very close and when I left for university it was devastating. She dropped me off and moved me in and left in a hurry because we were both starting to sob. It really opens your eyes to how important family is, especially my mum for me!

  5. I have never been on the parents side of this situation, but let me tell you. If he is even the slightest bit like you, he is feeling the same way! Just as the kid you dont want to admit that moving out is hard or scary for you. I still call my parents all the time asking for help, but its definitely important not to be over bearing, I had to sit my mom down and tell her she needed to call before coming over after the 4th suprise visit !

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