So that happened

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life34 Comments
Dropping them off for the second year is easier.

That said, we dropped our daughter off for her second year of college at a new college and so there are aspects of it that feel very similar to Year One.

Last year, I felt such a loss of energy in my life during those first few days back home after leaving her in Madison. This year, my energy is being channeled into one thought: I hope this is an amazing experience for her.

Don’t get me wrong, I still feel a sadness. The day before we took her down to Northfield, she and I were driving to Target to pick up some last minute things and Only You by Yaz came on my Sirius XM radio. As Aidan started to belt it out along with Alison Moyet, I started to cry behind my thankfully dark Ray Bans. You see, this is one of those mother-daughter songs. Something from my late teens that I am able to share with her in her late teens. We’ve been singing it together for years. We pulled into the parking lot and she turned to me and said, “Mom? Is your chin sweating?”

The cry was revealed and Aidan’s reaction was kind of awesome. She said, “Ohhh, Mom… NOOOOO! No, you don’t need to do that!” It wasn’t an embarrassed teen reaction. It was a young woman saying, “Mom, I got this. We’ve got this.”

For that, sweet girl, I am so very grateful.

It’s hard to let them go. It is. It’s hard not to worry. Will she find her place in a smaller collegiate community? Will she make the friends of a lifetime? Will she find fulfillment? Will she find joy?

These are the things we want for them. These are the things we can’t actually provide for them as they become adults.

This is part of growing up.

Her leaving is not the only shift that occurs because the family dynamic does change. Now it’s me and Dan and Cole. How do all of those relationships change and grow?  What will our challenges be as we adjust?

Life is nothing if not dynamic.

Here’s to the day at hand in this next chapter.

Cathy ZielskeSo that happened

34 Comments on “So that happened”

  1. #1
    Michelle t

    As I inch closer and closer to these moments, I greatly appreciate your words, they help. Thanks for sharing. Michelle t

  2. #2

    Sadly, I still feel that loss of energy when my adult kids visit & leave. It’s easier if I visit them & I’m the one leaving. Christmas holidays are the worst. So much excitement & busy-ness & then boom QUIET.

  3. #5

    I’m so happy that you and Aidan have such a great mom and daughter relationship. Really nice to hear there is such great respect in your family.

  4. #7

    Austin has been in British Columbia for just over a week, and I still look for his car when I pull into our apartment’s garage. I feel ya…

  5. #8

    Oh, Cathy! You guys have raised such a special and awesome young woman. She’s going to be great. And it really is a MOMENT, when the daughter warms your heart with such encouragement. Isn’t sooo interesting how the dynamics do change with one person off to college? I am so grateful that our daughter is only 30 minutes away and I am blessed to see her several times a week. Hang in there, lady! You DO have this. <3

  6. #9

    I actually am going through these moment too – my eldest is about the same age as Aidan and I have watch them grow up together since I started scrapbooking 12 years ago ( lord that is a long time to have stalked you lol) It is great to see them become such amazing young women and I know they have got this – on to the new chapter 🙂

  7. #10

    Love! My youngest is a freshman living 6 hours away. He came home for the weekend for the first time this past weekend and when he left I promptly walked into my room and cried like a baby! It wasn’t as bad as dropping him off, but it was so hard to say goodbye, again. The good thing is.. He seems to really love his new town and has grown up a bit, and that makes it a bit easier to swallow! Praying for all of cuz feeling like a part of you is gone just sucks… But in a good way! Thanks for keeping it real!

  8. #11

    I could have written this word for word. Including the song. I just dropped my daughter off for her second year of college and I feel exactly the same way. You nailed it.

  9. #12
    Kaye R

    As your children continue to grow, so will you and it only gets better. One day you’re taking them to college and before you know it, they’re moving to a strange city for their dream job. And the phone calls include questions about roasting a turkey or later, how to get that new baby to sleep thru the night. One day at a time, it only gets better.

  10. #13

    Hi Cathy,

    If I had to bet, I would lay down mucho bucks on all those things you want for Aidan to come true this year. My daughter is also a sophomore at a small christian liberal arts school , and I’m telling ya, she will make lifelong friends and experience tons of joy…..its just how schools like that simply are…the ambience is just so different from what you find at big state schools. Not knocking the big schools at all…just some of our kids “shine” in a different, more nurturing and friendly environment. I predict that you will be getting some very happy calls from your girl, and let me tell ya’, the excitement in her voice will bring a tear to your eye…

  11. #15

    I really need to stop reading your blog after my makeup routine. That or start wearing waterproof mascara.
    I adore you, your family, and your courage in sharing both with us.

  12. #16

    She’ll be just fine. You have raised her up proper. She’s close to family to, so that should give you some peace of mind. 🙂

  13. #17

    I cried when I read this and mine (twins girl/boy) have been back at school for three weeks. It’s their senior year. I still get misty eyed. Not uncontrollably sobbing. I did not have to accompany my daughter this year, as she stayed in the same apartment complex. I have to say being at work when each of them left, made it just a little bit easier not to shed too many tears.

  14. #19

    oh….now my chin is sweating! *deep sigh* we dropped our oldest, a girl also, off two weeks ago. There was a bit of misty eyes, but no real tears, until we were an hour down the road. About then she sent us a text that said how thankful she was for us letting her chase her dreams and sending her to such an amazing school (she’s at Notre Dame) and how much she loved us. Yep, major chin sweat right about then! lol But the truth is, it was hard. Not as hard as we expected, but still tough. I think knowing how excited and happy she was with where she was made the difference between major breakdown at goodbye and just some misty eyes. It’s our job to help them leave the comfort zone. It’s not easy, but knowing they love where they are does make it bearable. Good luck with the second year – and thanks for keeping it real, chin sweat and all! 🙂

  15. #20
    Kim L.

    Unfortunately my reading classes don’t have tinted lenses, so I can’t hide the tears after reading this. We dropped off our oldest 3 weeks ago, and it has been one of the happiest and saddest times of my life, all at the same time. I too am adjusting to living in a house with no other females, just my husband and son. I hope that you and your girl both have an amazing second year!

  16. #21

    Congrats to you for getting your daughter off to college. I hope she has has found her place and has an amazing year! Good luck to your family as you enter this new stage of life.

  17. #23

    My Haley is just one year ahead…she is a junior this year. It is such a mix of happy sadness…sad happiness…hard to express. Happy that she is doing well and making her way. Sad that our family dynamic has changed. And will change again, as my #2 graduates from high school next spring.

    It is all so fleeting.

  18. #24

    exciting stuff! i attended a different private college on a hill in MN, ahem, and can attest to the power of a small campus community. i hope she loves it! you don’t ever get these years back. college is such a unique time in life. i’m now an admissions counselor at a small private college and it’s an honor to be a part of students’ lives as they’re making such a huge decision.

  19. #25

    I went to St. Olaf; class of 1991. I moved into Kildahl from Southern California. I made life long friends and there is just no better college. I hope Aidan enjoys her time there. Congrats!!

  20. #26

    wow thanks for the flashback with Only You, I loved that song & literally haven’t listed to it for years.
    My 4 yr old daughter heard it (likely for the first time), asked me to play it from the beginning & broke out in spontaneous interpretive dance!!! I had one of those moments when you realise just how precious this time right now is and I could see the future – her future, our future – so clearly and I had told to hold back the tears & thoughts of it all rushing by way too fast. Of course I pulled out my phone & took video so I will always have this one. Thanks for initiating a wonderful new memory!

  21. #27

    All so true, thanks for this post, Cathy. Have definitely been feeling that loss of energy in the house this week after we got home from dropping our girl off. It was fun to chat with you last weekend – I hope Aidan has a great year!

    1. #27.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hey Beth! It was nice to meet you in person. I hope your girl has a great year, too. So far? It sounds like it’s an amazing place!

  22. #28

    Hey Cathy – so glad Aiden is all settled into her new home. We take our baby to school this Thursday for her freshman year. I am already tearing up. The whole empty nester thing is just weighing on me. I will miss the energy of her around here. One a senior in college and now a freshman…time does truly fly!

    Was wondering if there will be an 8 1/2 x 11 version of that awesome new template “Hello College”? That would be such a terrific way to end her living at home years scrapbooks.

    Thanks for always keeping it real here!

    1. #28.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hey Steph, hang in there mama!

      Check out my blog today! I shared my 8.5 x 11 version of the page. I opened the 12 x 12 template, then created a new 8.5 x 11 doc. I selected all the content from the 12 x 12 page, dragged it up to the tab of the new doc, dragged down to copy… then just sized it all down together to fit.

      The last step is to adjust the type size for the journaling as it sized down too small. I made it 9.5 and added a bit more leading. If you were to get the 12 x 12 and needed help, just email and I can do it for you!

  23. #29

    I keep telling myself that it’ll be ages before I have to do what you’re doing, but it’s not that far away.
    I really appreciate hearing all the things you articulate. It helps me to prepare, and helps me realize that it’s a very real thing that parents go through.

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