If you are a parent of a college student you know how bittersweet it was to take your child to their new home away from home. You were probably a mix of emotions…proud and excited for them but incredibly sad for you. Then you had to go home and adjust to life without them there every day. While you impatiently waited for those texts or phone calls but not wanting to be the needy mom and contact them too often. Wondering what they are doing between classes. Or even tracking them on your family “find friends” app at night. Yup…guilty!
Then the weekend you’ve all been waiting for is finally here…Family Weekend! Your travel plans and hotel reservations were made months ago. Homemade treats (chocolate chip cookies for our son) and other forgotten essentials are packed. Younger siblings can’t wait to see their big brother. And you are all ready to go! You can’t wait to be all together again. Party of 5!
If you child’s school has a football team then there should be a fun home game during the weekend. Every university is different but they have many activities and events planned throughout the weekend. Our son attends the University of South Carolina. Go Gamecocks! It’s funny how we weren’t big college football fans until now. My husband & I didn’t go to a large university with a division one football team. But now that our
money son goes to USC we’ve become big fans!
Ok so back to one mom’s perspective of that first family weekend. We rolled into town Friday and met our son at his dorm because we decided not to participate in all the planned activities the school had going on. Everyone was just excited to see him and spend some time together. The first night we took him out to dinner because you know…food! College boys can eat…well, he could eat even before college. Ha ha! But after dinner he wanted to go back to his dorm so he could go out with friends. And there was the first feeling of sadness, or maybe disappointment would be a better word, of the weekend. Honestly, we were all a little tired so we just went back to our hotel.
Our family at our 1st Family Weekend
Saturday was the football game and tailgating before the game with his friends from high school who also go to South Carolina and their families. We didn’t get much of a chance to talk and catch up on his life because we were with so many other people. He was having fun with his friends and it was awesome to see him so happy. Really it was…but it was different…things had changed. Again those bittersweet feelings creeping in. Sure I was happy he was happy but I was also a bit sad. Change is good right?! This is what we wanted for him…to be independent and settled into his new college life. I just wasn’t expecting to feel sad on this weekend that I had waited for since dropping him off.
After the game we stopped for a bite to eat and brought along two of his roommates. Then back to their dorm they went so they could go out again with friends for the night. And that disappointed feeling again… I didn’t want to feel this way. Maybe we thought we were going to spend more time together. Or maybe we thought it was going to feel like it did before he left for college. Although he wasn’t home all that much during his senior year of high school between school, sports and work but he was home every night. So why did we feel like this now? Because it was different and change is mostly good but sometimes it’s just really hard.
On Sunday he slept in…ya know because he’s a college kid now and he was out way past curfew. Oh that’s right he’s a college kid now…he doesn’t have a curfew. We were all hungry so we decided to stop waiting around and go out to breakfast without him. Later we picked him up and took him to the grocery store for some stuff for his dorm room. Because you know…food! He had homework to do and we were all feeling a bit bummed that we had to leave soon so we said our goodbyes.
Now that we are about to go to our third family weekend in a couple of weeks, I have to be honest looking back at that first one through the eyes of a kind of experienced mom of a college kid, it wasn’t so bad. I’m grateful for all the memories we have of the times we get to be together. If you will be going to your first family weekend I hope that you take the time to just enjoy the moment. Appreciate the time you do get with that young adult rather than feeling disappointed it wasn’t exactly as you had imagined it would be. I tried to remember this the second year…not sure I was successful but it was better. I’m hoping year number three is the best one yet!
Our 2nd Family Weekend
When our children grow up it’s an adjustment for everyone. It may be just as hard for them as it is for us. They are adjusting to their new independence, pressures of college classes, making new friends, and navigating their life. And maybe just maybe that first visit wasn’t everything they hoped it would be either.