My New Happy: The Year We Survived

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Year We Survived

He's home.
He's home!

Nine months ago we dropped off an excited, nervous, unsure boy for his first year of college. And then drove five hours home with an anxious, crying, heartbroken me.

On Friday, after a week of brutal final exams, we packed him up, said goodbye to the dorm room, and left campus with an exhausted, giddy, grown up young man.

I was feeling a little giddy too.  Happy to have my baby asleep in the backseat.  Relieved that his first year was so successful.  And thankful I survived.

I know I sound dramatic, but I wasn't sure I would.  I dreaded that drop off moment for months, years even.  I could not picture my day to day existence without him, and I worried about how he would get by without us. What if he got sick?  Or felt lonely or sad or hungry? In the end, all those things happened, but he survived.  We all survived.

I learned so many things during this first year he was away.

  • Cry.  Be sad, and then cry some more.  Let your heart be broken.  It's the end of something wonderful and special, and you need to grieve.  Ignore people if they tell you to suck it up.  Trust me, it's better to let it all out, as often as you want.
  • Know that it gets easier.  I promise.  Some days are harder than others, but eventually you will find your way.  For me, the anticipation of him being gone was so much worse than the reality.
  • Trust that you did a good job, and let them be.  Worrying over what they're up to every minute doesn't do anybody any good, and you'll drive yourself crazy.  They will let you know when they need you.
  • When they're home for holiday breaks, don't count down the days until they go back.  I learned that one the hard way.
  • Start spending more time with your spouse, your friends, and yourself.  It's a new beginning for you too. Stay busy, and find ways to channel your time and energy. Volunteer, exercise, blog, try out a new career.

So now I get him for three whole months.  I can feed him, and love him, and enjoy his company.  We'll have to do it all over again in the fall, but next time it won't be so hard.

Because not only did we survive.  We thrived.


  1. Enjoy your summer with your son! I know he is probably as glad to be home as you are to have him! Make some memories!

  2. Glad you made it and I can't wait to hug you.

  3. Haha YAY! I hope his first year was a success. I remember my first year away from home. So much fun. However, my mom cleared out my room and made it into a den because she got depressed going in there staring at my stuff, lol.

  4. I can't believe his first year is complete! I'm sure it felt long for you but I feel like I just read your post about him leaving. Yay for summer break!

  5. Wow! Congrats and welcome to summer.
    I totally feel you in not knowing if you'd survive. That's how I feel about kindergarten with my second. And honestly, you give me a lot of hope that I will be OK!

  6. And nows there's lots too talk about and share and a house full of friends visiting and cars on the drive and pizza boxes in bedroom and mouldy coffee in mugs in bedroom and empty toilet roll holders.

  7. So glad he's home and I hope the summer is filled with great memories! Love the lessons learned! Thanks for sharing them.

  8. Yay yay yay!! Have a long summer!!

  9. Good for you and for all of you! You will love each other to distraction and then wonder if semester doesn't start soon? Good chance next summer he won't come home but get a job somewhere or do a summer exchange and you will be OK, REALLY you will!

  10. I am so happy for you! I felt for you when you first did some posts when he left last summer! You should def. go back and read those when he leaves for his second year and maybe you'll realize how much stronger you are and how you grew in the past year, too! I have been starting to think about all this, with my son starting middle school (what?!) next year. He's a kid almost teen. It scares me!! And, yes, I think all the time how fast the years are going by...


  11. OH my goodness, I'm crying just reading this and thinking about my littles leaving one day...but knowing that I too will survived and thrive like you did! Good job mama, enjoy the next 3 months! Minus the 4 days I get to see you!

  12. Yay!!!! College Boy is home. I bet everyone is giddy about his home coming. Thank you for sharing all this great advice about dealing with kids going off to college. Enjoy feeding him, loving him and enjoying his company.

  13. I'm not looking forward to this. One more year to go for us. This is promising though! Thanks for sharing.

  14. I cried just reading this! Cause you know I felt the EXACT same emotions. We did survive and I hope it's not as hard this Fall. ;-)

  15. So glad you have him home! I think having more kids still busy at home really eased the transition for me when my bigs left home. I thought when I took Riley it was going to be so hard but I found myself so darn excited thinking about what he was going to experience. Now...when little bit finally goes off to college someone may have to hold me!

  16. I'm so glad you looked at the positive aspects, Lana!! I used to cry when I went off to college, but mom always said not to worry, because I'd be back!!

  17. Woo hoo!! I knew this day would come. The hardest part is behind you. Enjoy your precious time this summer.

  18. You made it!!! You know my husband did the same thing that yours did and planned a vacation for the day after he left for boot camp, then his deployment was pushed back because of a hurricane. Long story short, we left before he left. In the end it was hard even from 3000 miles away. It never got better, not until he was on US soil. I think it was harder when it was my daughter. She's the baby, but we survived. I know how hard it was for you and I love that you've been filling your time with great travels and fun! You deserve it!


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