Spring Break – Heartbreaking Reminder

It was evident families were on Spring Break vacation over the last few weeks; malls had more foot traffic and shorts and flip flops were out in full force in our beach town. The sun was bright for them, but for some odd reason the warmth of their closeness made me shiver and pay more attention to these families walking our quaint main street, zigzagging in out of shops and restaurants all safely together enjoying quality bonding time.

Watching them evoked the secure feeling I have each time the four of us are out enjoying a movie, having a simple lunch huddled together in a booth at our favorite restaurant, or when we're crammed in the family room watching TV. But, as I watched the carefree vacationers stroll past me, I got a sudden pang of impending doom, an abrupt reminder of what it will soon be like without the intact foursome in a future family outing.

“Gotta start preparing mentally for the break,” I tell myself.

Not the spring break kind though, the family-unit breaking kind.

Spring Break is now over. It's Monday morning and the kids left in their little car, on their own, back to school. They hated waking up to a rainy day, but were happy to renew their special routine of jamming to music together with the windows rolled up before heading into the quiet classrooms.

We had a whirlwind 10 days of jet setting across the country and up and down the west coast visiting the two colleges our son has decided are at the top of his list to choose from and head to this fall: Purdue University (way the hell out in Indiana!), and Santa Clara University in California (and oh, so close to home).

I've known this huge milestone has been coming since my son was a junior in high school when the grueling college application process began, but denial kept me from imagining life without him — I refuse to let this depressing thought take over me (like it's gripping me now as I try to hold back the tears while I write this).

“Don't make him feel any guilt for leaving my nest; the one I quit my power job to build; the same one I worked so hard to keep clean, warm, fun and nurturing so that he would want to spend time in it, which he did,” I reassure my brain but, my heart doesn’t want any part of this.

I hate this stage of parenthood!

Now, I have to be the same one to heave him over the edge and hopefully see him take flight without landing too hard on his face at first.

“Be strong, don't let him see you weak or cry because he'll feel the same way,” I think and forge ahead with all the plans for his big move to college.

Something just doesn’t feel normal here, but I know that if he leaves and doesn’t come back to live with us again we did our jobs as parents.

We should be delighted he even got accepted to decent colleges and feels the security and confidence to want to take this leap of faith from our cozy little nest.

But, deep inside I’m really not so joyful.

Proud, yes.

Happy, not even remotely.

In fact, I’m mad as hell!

I just wish dammed UCLA would have accepted him so he wouldn’t be going so far away to a Big Ten school where sports are big, the classrooms are big, and the distance from home is even bigger.

**Insert curse word here**


So, what are we parents supposed to do with all these emotions?

*Curse word, again*


  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh. I feel your pain and am wiping the tears of self pity for me and sadness for you off of my cheeks. My son is only a freshman and I have to force the thought of him leaving out of my mind almost daily. I cry at the thought at least once a month and have no idea how I will survive his departure from our family.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for commisurating with me. I think my eyes won't be dry for the next four or five months (and probably way beyond the time he leaves for classes). I'm a bluberring mess right now.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oooh- I can feel the emotion. Great post. At least your son is looking at two good schools. Santa Clara is a great school & close. Purdue is also great choice as I enjoy the magic of cheering on your own school at huge Big Ten sports events. If he goes to Purdue – he will definitely appreciate San Diego after spending just one winter in the Midwest.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wish my son would have fallen in love with Santa Clara, too. They offered him a very generous grant, but he's not smitten. He signed the commitment letter with Purdue over the weekend. *sigh*

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