It seems like just the other day I lamented about the change in our lives brought on by the return of our two college students. We have experienced this migration and disruption for several years now. The expected total change in lifestyle took place through the summer, but with a little more calm. I guess that is part of the kids being 21 and having jobs and maybe finding they enjoy mornings more? Not sure…but as the summer has gone on we have had to start to see our lives change even more significantly. Our two 18 year olds would also be leaving. One to Purdue. The other had a decision to make. He is our hockey goalie and despite my ranting and raving about the world of hockey when kids reach this age…it didn’t change anything. He wants to play in college and the colleges like the players to spend an extra year in what is called Juniors. Tryouts ensued and as the summer rolled on it became clear that his selection, and the best choice for his development as a hockey player and young man, was 2300 miles away in a place we have never been..Medford Oregon.
How do you move a soon to be 19 year old boy across the country? We spent the summer on that one. Fortunately we discovered that he qualified for on- line classes from Indiana University. We really wanted him to not just sleep and play hockey. Starting his college classes and having the most flexibility for the future was our goal. Being the partisan that I am I must brag… Indiana University offered the solution. So we can officially also now say we have four in college! Bragging rights is what this game is all about! Look..we are much more broke than you are!
So, three at Purdue and one going to Indiana University while living in Oregon! While I am not sure this fully qualifies that I finally got one of my kids to go to my school, at least for a semester, I can feel a little better about how the college savings flow. If you know anybody who has saved enough to have four kids in college in the same year they have likely either 1. inherited wealth, 2. won the lottery, or 3. sacrificed for years. We fall under #3. Maybe this helps a little more to explain my conservatism? Not an excuse…but a lifestyle choice.
So, the point today is that 30 minutes ago, our son and my wife hopped in his Chevy Silverado to make the trek across country. My first observation is thank goodness he is a boy. He is able to move himself and make decisions I have never seen our girls make. Travel light. I carried Jennifer’s suitcase downstairs and realized she would pay the suitcase up-charge if she was flying. She took up 25% of his cargo space and she flies back in a week! He was lighthearted about it. He knows his Mom and had saved plenty of room in the covered truck bed for her (suitcase that is)! Our 8 year old son said his goodbyes and I know I was about to lose it. I hugged our hockey player/IU student and told him I am proud of him. I do not believe I could have ever made the decision he made at his age. As Mom and I said our goodbyes, her face full of tears, I realized just how hard this was going to be for her. Not the three day drive, but leaving her baby boy so far from home. This is not a one hour drive to Purdue!
On Thursday I will have a U Haul truck loaded up to deliver the rest of our girls to Purdue. When I return it will be the 8 year old and me until Mom comes home. Then it will be just three of us in a house that is now too large for three, but needs to be able to accommodate seven. The kids do migrate home. Then they fly the coop again. It is a stage of life. One between needs and support, and total independence. It is a time of growth and excitement, and a heart tug that can’t be described unless you are a parent experiencing it. The birds have flown from the nest again. It is quiet.
For some reason, I am sad.