Monday, September 17, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Ch-ch-changes

Well it finally happened. This past weekend we took Samantha to Central Washington University to start her new life as a college student. It was an easy transition, and a really hard one. Getting on the road was the easy part as she is a pretty organized person. And she didn't balk at me too much for making a vinyl at work to announce our road trip. We figured all we could do to mark the occasion would make it fun. 

The ease was due in part to a facebook board for CWU parents where someone had the suggestion to buy IKEA zipper bags for transferring stuff. They were a huge help in packing and I know they will come in handy when Sam is bringing dirty laundry home! We also brought a bag of treats for the helpers we knew would be helping us unpack and move all her stuff. This is about when I think everything became real for all of us. The nerves hit and all the worries started including wondering if she was bringing too much stuff. 

 As a freshman she had the bonus of having 'movers & shakers' who came to the car in the line up and unloaded everything! We didn't touch a box. They took everything to her room  so all we had to do was check in and get a room key. It's such a smooth process which really helped since this is when the nerves really kicked in. Once all the boxes are in you just get down to it and unpack. Oh, and meet the roommate and realize this is your new "home."

It wasn't until the next day when we were about to leave that emotions really hit. This is when things became hard. There were lots and lots of tears and questions. It's hard watching your kid struggle, especially when you know they are doing the right thing. We just comforted her the best we could. There are two pieces of advice that I left her with and I have to say Steve and I are applying them to ourselves as well. 

The first is to be vulnerable. I often find other people will share with me once I start the conversation. She will definitely not be the only one fighting homesickness or struggling with this new normal. And talking about it can only make it feel easier. 

The second is to take it one day at a time. Thankfully CWU has a program where there are a lot of mandatory sessions freshman have to attend and a lot of fun things they can choose to. So far she has taken part in a color rave (where they basically spray paint on you while you dance!), attended a volleyball game, and is on a dodgeball team! 

The surprise has been Steve's response. He has been hit hard by her being gone, and is a bit off his game. I have been doing okay so far, but I know it will really hit me in the coming weeks. I have been fortunate to have great friends checking in, and will make sure to take my own advice and take things one day at a time. And soon enough this will feel like our new normal. 

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