Sending Your Firstborn Off to College — Part 2: We Did It!

Well, we’re back from Montana, with my oldest child safely dropped off with all his worldly belongings, including a new comforter, a few snacks, a ukelele, and a football he decided to take at the last second.

And you know what? It wasn’t so bad — I wasn’t the emotional wreck I thought I’d be.

I think talking about his leaving, musing about it, and writing about it really helped me get a lot of the sadness out. By the time I got up there (and especially after I saw all of his dorm mates dropping their stuff off and immediately taking off toward the Clark River with inner tubes), I was so excited and happy for him. I just couldn’t wait to let him get started, so Superman and I could hear about all the new adventures he’s going to have!

I think it also helped that we brought the younger kids along. They were a lot of fun, and they kept reminding me that my job as a mom isn’t over — I’ve got another several years of all their craziness! The drive home felt like we were starting a new phase, but almost like we rewound the clock about three years — now Rene is my “oldest” at home, and she’s the age Ricky was three years ago, so I get to redo sophomore, junior and senior year.

I’ll post a little more about it — plus more photos of Montana — in the next few days. For now, it’s back to work, back to registering the younger kids for junior high and high school, and on to Phase II!

Sending Your Firstborn Off to College — Part 1

Comforter, check.

Sheets, check.

Throw rug, check.

Wastebasket, desk lamp, electrical cord, ethernet cord, lightbulbs, check.

409, Febreeze, dish, cup, can opener, laundry packets, laundry bag, toiletry bag, extra boxes of contacts, backup glasses, good calculator, desk supplies, desk organizer, check.

Handling all this emotionally. … hmmm …

Everyone keeps asking me how I’m handling Ricky leaving. I think everyone knows how close we are, and how he’s my first, and he’s my heart, and he’s my friend, and he’s always been the most like me, so we’ve always had a special bond.

But when people ask, I usually tell them something like this:

“Well, I still need to get a mattress pad, and we were looking for a longer ethernet cord, and I wanted to find some Cold-Ease…”

But I don’t think that’s what they’re asking. Continue reading

Old Fashioned Ideas on Men and Women

Awhile ago, I became obsessed with watching “Millionaire Matchmaker” on Bravo TV. I would be trying to get things done on the weekend – you know, like painting the bathroom or getting a load of laundry done – but I would walk through a room where “Millionaire Matchmaker” was on, and – next thing I knew – I’d be sitting on the edge of the couch with the laundry basket on my hip, sucked in, while my sons’ T-shirts would have their wrinkles set in.

One weekend, the show had me particularly enthralled. Partly because I was fascinated with the ne’er-do-well wealthy bachelor of the hour and the seemingly lost, desperate lineup of would-be-millionaire wives, but mostly because – arriving on the set suddenly – was none other than Dr. Pat Allen!

I interviewed Pat Allen many moons ago for an article I was doing for the newspaper on creating and breaking New Year’s resolutions. At the time, she was doing weekly seminars at a local hall in Orange County, focused on helping women and men communicate with one another. My editor friend Dixie gave me her number and said I must interview her. I loved that Pat was all about empowering women – helping them find their strength (in many cases for free) – and I became a big fan of hers, then and there. She turned out to be an amazing interview. She has this deep, gravelly voice, and a wicked sense of humor, and she tells everything exactly like it is. I remember wanting to talk to her for hours. Continue reading

Season of Goodbyes

So many goodbyes lately: two coworkers left for other parts of the country (Austin and San Fran); several of my son’s friends have taken off for college already (Florida, Texas, etc.); my son said goodbye to my parents and my brother/wife last weekend; we have another going-away dinner planned for him to say goodbye to Chris’ brother’s family this weekend …

It just feels like a lot of leaving and changing.

Of course, I’m happy for all the people who are leaving, because they’re all going off to exciting new adventures, but it still leaves an air of emptiness and, well, … change.

And it’s all really leading up to the biggest change of all — having my son head off to college.

His stuff is all over my stairs right now. I have his comforter, desk lamp, waste basket, and various crates and bins lined up in the hallway collecting little things as I think of them — light bulbs, electrical outlet, desk supplies, microwaveable mugs, spoons, nail clippers, laundry detergent capsules, a can opener. …

It’s nice to keep myself busy with the scavenger-hunt-style shopping and collecting.

I know it’s keeping me from thinking about how sad this is going to be.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

This dimpled infant:

This sweet baby:

This cute toddler:

This adorable kid:

Is now this dimpled, sweet, cute, adorable kid:

And is 15 today! I can hardly believe it.

Happy Birthday, Baby! You’ll always be our sweet little girl.

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