Every August for the last five years we've traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee to deposit offspring at college. While the mission was the same each of those years, every one was unique both physically and emotionally.
Year one was probably the hardest. It was something new for all of us. Leaving our first born behind in a strange place, a four hour drive from home, was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'll never forget how forlorn he looked walking alone across campus as we drove off. My heart was broken and there were tears. But, while there were tears of sadness, there were also tears of joy. My son was embarking on a whole new adventure. Besides, we still had a kid at home - no empty nest for me and Dale, and finally Andrew gets his wish of being an only child.
Year two rolled around and again we embarked on the trip north, this time dropping off both sons. Driving away was a little easier because we knew what to expect for them and ourselves. It was also comforting knowing the brothers had each other. But it was hard letting go of my baby and once again there were tears. While I was happy for the adventure Andrew was starting, these tears were purely selfish as I knew I would be returning to a very quiet home. The nest was truly empty.
Thank goodness for winter and summer vacations!
Year three was probably the easiest. I was getting to the point of not worrying so much about my boys and Dale and I were getting the hang of living alone as a couple. And, yes we were liking it!
Year four came with a little sadness. Ian had spent the summer working at a camp in Seattle, Washington and we only had a couple of days with him before he returned for his senior year. Reality was beginning to hit him and us. The end of school was on the horizon and things were ripe for change.
Sure enough, graduation came and right behind it moving out and moving away. One son has officially flown the nest. However, until he's married I won't say it's final. My boy knows he can always come home ... as long as he plays nice and follows Mom's rules!
And here we are now ... back where we were five years ago, dropping off one son at school. This time we're looking at the final year of school for Andrew and truly the end of an era. Graduation will come in May and we will no longer be the parents of college students. No more August trips to Knoxville.
Ack! Where'd the time go?