Monday, August 16, 2010

Two More Sleeps

"Sleeps," that's what my mom calls it. When I'm a week away from coming to visit she'll say, "I'll see you in seven more sleeps!"

My baby is leaving for college in two more sleeps, and I'm starting to freak out. Like seriously. A kaleidoscope of butterflies (yes, that's what they're called) has taken up permanent residence in my stomach, my heart is beating harder, and my mouth is dry. Why am I so anxious?

1) My baby is going to college! How is that possible? Since when did they start letting 10 year olds into universities? What? He's 18??? When did that happen? How is it possible, especially given I'm only 32???

2) He's my rock. He is dependable, caring, kind, smart, ambitious, funny, and he's got an old soul. I often feel like I'm the kid and he's the parent. How will I get by? Who will help me take care of the kitties? Who will hug me when I'm feeling sad?

3) I'll be alone in my house for the first time in my life. I lived with my family, then a boyfriend, then my husband, and then my husband and kids. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO LIVE ALONE!!!

I had been looking forward to the "empty nest syndrome" up until a few months ago. Now, I'm slightly petrified. And a little excited. And a little sad. And a lot nervous. Will I be okay? Will I figure out how to change a fuse or how to get all the apps onto my cell phone or how to use the DVD player? These are guy things, right? No? Crap!

But, my baby is going to college - HE'S GOING TO COLLEGE!!! He was accepted pre-med to Penn State Altoona, and I know I shouldn't be sad or nervous or afraid. I should be happy, overjoyed, proud, verklempt. And I am those things, all of them. I know this is a true change of life for both of us, and I know we'll both be fine. No, we won't be fine. We'll be freaking awesome! We'll thrive and grow and learn and become more of who we are, who we're meant to be. I'm going to miss him like crazy, and I'm going to have to learn how to do a lot of things I've never done before, but, such is life, right? Things, people, and situations change, and people have an uncanny ability to adapt.

But, still, I'm going to miss my baby...

So, here's to you, Ethan - may this be the first step towards the beginning of an unimaginable life filled with exciting challenges, new frontiers, and dreams come true. And, thank you, my precious son, for filling my life with a kind of joy I will never be able to fully express. I love you to the depths of my heart and my soul.

What about you? Have you sent a child off to college or experienced "empty nest syndrome" or undergone a major life change recently? How did it go? How did you get through it? Any and all advice will be greatly welcomed and appreciated!

Oh, and sharing a birthday with Madonna today is my dear friend, Carolyn. Happy Birthday! You truly make 50 look like the new 30!

40 comments:

Julie said...

Congrats to Ethan!

And you will get through this, but on the murky days when you are struggling, there are a lot of people out here who love you and will support you.

Love ya always,

Jules

Anonymous said...

You're always welcome at our nest Debbie! Though now I am thinking that that this will change in only 2,920 sleeps! Sounds tempting for a weekend but not ready overall!

Love,

Len

Debra L. Schubert said...

Julie, I heart you muchly. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Len, Thanks for the invite, I'll mark it on my calendar. ;-))

Karen Walker said...

Deb, even if you weren't going through the crisis of your long-term marriage being over, this would be a hard one to handle. But the two together must feel like complete abandonment. When I left Portland Oregon in 1994, I was completely alone for the first time in my life. Driving thru the Mojave Desert, I wanted to die. But a voice whispered, "You're not alone and you are not done yet, Karen." I will whisper the same thing to you, Debra. You are not not alone and you are not done. This is a whole new chapter, as yet unwritten. Begin writing it, dear friend.
Karen

Kelly said...

Good luck to Ethan and to you (wonderful pic of you two!).
You have cats right? They will get you through this! My youngest is going to kindergarten and my husband is afraid I'm going to have a nervous breakdown over that. I think I'll make a reservation at the local mental hospital for when he does go to college! ;)
I was just showed a picture of Madonna to my daughter, Emily, who turns eight today. We both marveled at how young and pretty she looks. She has aged well.

Laura Marcella said...

My oldest nephew is starting kindergarten in two weeks and I'm freaking out. He's only my nephew. And it's only kindergarten. Gosh, I'd hate to see how I'll be sending my own kid off to college, LOL!

Congrats to your son and good luck to you!!! Remember there are breaks and vacations and even weekends to randomly visit!

Steph Damore said...

So, I was really annoyed with my mom when I went off to college. "Get a life," I thought. And even last week when I made the big move to Pittsburgh, I thought, "Geez, I'm only 6 hours away!"

But now, I'm starting to get it. You see, I'm expecting a baby in March and suddenly all those silly worries my mom has bombarded with over the years don't seem so silly anymore. It's a bit overwhelming to think about, BUT hang in there! College doesn't last forever!!!

Ruthanne Reid said...

AWW! Yes, you will be FINE!

Remember that post about my grandma? You're in an even better situation because you have the internet and friends around you. Whatever needs to be done, YOU CAN DO IT.

There's nothing you can't learn how to do. You're smart, motivated, and willing to be taught.

And congrats again to your boy. That is so, so inspiring ^__^

Debra L. Schubert said...

Karen, Tx for your kind words. You always know exactly what to say and I greatly appreciate it.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kelly, Yes, I have cats and they certainly help. It's just that our conversations are limited! And kindergarten is a big deal for sure. The good news is he's coming home at the end of the day.

And, yes, Madonna is a true beauty.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Laura, You're right. I'm looking forward to seeing some great Penn State football!!!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Steph, Your comment is poignant. It's all a part of growing up. I remember my mom totally lost it when I dropped out of college and moved to CA from CO w/a band. I thought she was crazy, after all I was following my dreams. But now? I get it. I totally get it.

Best of luck w/your new little bundle-to-be! The two greatest days in my life were the days my kids were born. I look forward to hearing your wonderful news. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Ruthanne, Your story about your grandma is so moving, and you're right - I will learn how to do the things I've happily avoided for so many years. I will grow and change and become a better person for it, because that's what I'm committed to.
*hugs*

Robin said...

You have had one change on top of the next. Your head has to be spinning like a top. Good change. Bad change. Good change. Mixed bag. Oh, and happy birthday Carolyn. Honestly, it will be hard with Ethan gone at first. Just because it will be so different. However, it is the next phase of his and your life and you will adjust. Then it will be hard when he comes home for the summer and expect to keep the same crazy hours he does at college...lol. However, in the end, it will all be okay. You'll see. You might end up with some insights for a new book out of the whole deal:-) ((Hugs))

Debra L. Schubert said...

Robin, RE: insights for a new book, NO DOUBT!!! It's just so strange. You have a baby, raise it into a child, then an adult, and then they leave. I mean, of course they do, but still, it's all so strange.

Hugs back atcha. ;-)

Jemi Fraser said...

Good luck to both you and Ethan! I'm lucky we have good schools in town and my kids chose to attend those. Yay!

And thankfully you can find out almost anything on the Internet! :)

Kristi Helvig said...

I'm going to be a basket case when my kids reach that point. They're both old souls too--and I had my first taste of empty nest syndrome this week. My oldest started 1st grade and my youngest started 2 mornings a week of pre-school. The house was completely empty for 3 hours and I started crying because I missed them--yeah, I'm lame. My son asked later is I was sad because he was gone all day and when I said yes, my 3-yo daughter added "Well, you'll miss me when I'm in college because you'll NEVER see me then." (emphasis was hers).

Anyway, I'm saying that I feel your pain even though mine are younger. Good luck w/ the adjustment and hopefully he'll visit home often! :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jemi, Thanks! He'll be a 3 & 1/2 ride away, and I hate long drives... ;-(

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kristi, Your daughter's comment completely cracked me up! I love my time alone, but look forward to seeing him when he's around. There will definitely be a hole in my life. Thank goodness for Skype, texting, and phone calls!

Chuck Schubert said...

Thanks for posting, Deb. Ethan, you're a beautiful boy and I love you with all my heart. Follow your dreams....

Debra L. Schubert said...

Chuck, Thanks for your comment. You've been a great dad and I appreciate that. Ethan is indeed amazing.

Phoenix said...

I don't have any kids so I haven't had that empty nest feeling you wrote about. But I do know that it's hard for me to live alone so I feel ya. When I feel most alone, I throw lots and lots of dinner parties...or I invite myself over to friends' homes! Hah!

Dr. Goose said...

I'm 35 and have two boys who are 4 and 2. I have a sick feeling in my stomache regarding the harsh reality of my future. I'm going to wake them from their naps and give them a hug right now. Oh yeah, and all the sweets they want.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Phoenix, I'll soon know what it's like to live alone, so I'll take your advice and move dinner parties (pot luck, since I don't cook!) and going out w/friends to the top of my "to do" list!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Dr. G, You don't have to wake your kids, just hug them more and cherish every moment you have together. ;-) (And, sweets? Oh, yeah!)

Kimberly Franklin said...

How exciting and scary that your son is leaving and you'll have alone time. The knew and unknown is always a little scary,but you know what, you might end up really enjoying it. :)

Have fun on your trip!!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kim, Thanks for your kind words. I'm so happy for him, but feeling a little sad for myself. He's such an amazing kid. I'm beyond lucky to have him in my life. ;-)

Tawna Fenske said...

Awww...congrats to both of you, but extra big ((hugs)) just for you. If you lived closer, I'd buy you a drink. Or twelve.

Good luck in this exciting new stage of your life.

Tawna

Debra L. Schubert said...

Tawna, Thanks, honey. Next time I'm in PDX, I will take you up on that!

Sybir St. John said...

Congrats to Ethan...it'll all be ok, Mom. Change is good, right??? It'll take a few weeks, but then you'll be so used to the quiet and doing your own thing!

*hugs*

Debra L. Schubert said...

Stacia, I'm sure I'll get used to Ethan being gone, but right now I can't imagine it. ;-(

*hugs back atcha*

Amy Sue Nathan said...

Here's to Ethan -- and to you. I'm sure you're the reason he's ready for this big step.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Amy, Thanks. We are lucky to have such an amazing son. ;-)

Marisa Birns said...

I cried copiously as I waved goodbye to my son when he went to kindergarten.

I cried copiously when we drove away from dropping him at college that first year.

But it's all good because your son is continuing on a path that only he can walk, and you have given him all the tools that made him the wonderful young man he has grown up to be.

It will get easier. It will.

Jeanne Veillette Bowerman said...

I started crying even as I clicked the link. I. Cannot. Imagine. I can't even let my mind go there! My kids are 13 (boy) and 15 (girl), and your description of the relationship you have with your son fits ours. When my son went to kindergarten, I thought I'd be celebrating to have the house to myself. The opposite happened, and totally threw me! I came home from dropping him off and threw myself on his bed, sobbing as if he died! I was a wreck for a good week! Then... I got over it :) I learned the freedoms of having a few hours to myself and enjoyed it.

Let yourself mourn, cry, wail, get it out, then when he comes home to visit, do it all over again. But in time, you'll both adjust and your pride in him will grow.

Good luck this week. I'll be thinking of you. And hey, your boy is really cute... maybe in a few years we can fix him up with my girl :) heehee

Debra L. Schubert said...

Marisa, "your son is continuing on a path that only he can walk," So true! He's amazing and I have no doubts he'll be successful at whatever he chooses to do and be in life. Thank you for your kind words. I'll re-read your comment the next time I'm missing him.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jeanne, The scary thing is that high school flies by SO FAST! It's like lightening. I know I'll make it through, and you will, too.

And, I'm all about matchmaking. ;-)

koralee said...

Yes I can soooo relate..my rock is leaving for the UK in a few weeks to go to college..not just a hop... skip.. and a jump away!!!
But unlike you I have my little one still at home.
Sending you some extra hugs because you will need them my friend. xoxoxo

Debra L. Schubert said...

Koralee, It's tough when the first one leaves, but it's much harder when your "baby" leaves. Tx for the extra hugs. You're right, I absolutely need them!

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