The New Normal

The New Normal

I can hear your thoughts.

No really, I can.

Good grief! you are thinking, not another post having to do with the whole college thing! 

To which I say, Hey, I hear ya, sister (or brother).

But since I cannot stop ALL THE FEELS GOING ON I gotta to do what I do: Write about them.

If I promise not to get too emotional will you promise not to click away? I’m not sure I can take anyone else leaving me.


Promise already broken.

It’s been four days since we left Thing 1 at college a million miles away.

Fine, technically it might only be around 300 miles, but the string she’s holding that’s tied to my heart is pulling like it’s a million.


Sorry. Again.

I’m glad to report that in just four short days our college girl is happy and has made herself busy by going to just about every activity her dorm offers (concerts downtown, football game viewing parties, group dinners), taken off on her own for bike rides along the lakeshore, made new friends on her dorm’s floor, done laundry (via panic-ridden texts requesting instructions from mama), conquered her fear of the communal showers (although she’s still a bit shocked when she sees a dude walking down her hall in nothing but a towel) and even navigated the large campus by herself to find where to pick up things like her bus pass and football tickets.

She’s flying solo, and she’s staying up.

The rest of us, on the other hand, have spent the past four days laying on our asses feeling mopey. Oh, don’t feel sorry for us. We’ve fed our mopiness with copious amounts of Netflix, salty snacks, chocolate and wine, but still. We’ve been a bit blue.

Surprisingly, however, I haven’t had a teary moment since the goodbye (and the months leading up to it). Maybe it’s because I’ve been trying my best to keep Thing 2’s spirits up since the initial separation was so devastating to her. Maybe it’s because I still kind of feel like Thing 1 is just at camp (it has only been four days, after all), or maybe it’s because the numerous texts we get from her or the nightly Google Hangouts we’ve done where we see her smiling face that tells us she’s a natural at this college thing: she’s where she’s supposed to be. 

Don’t worry, I’m not an idiot. I know it will hit me full-force in about a week.

And don’t worry (again), I’m sure I’ll let you know all about it.

Breakdown or no breakdown, however, there have been a few things that have happened over the past four days that have slapped us in the face with the reality that she’s just not here. I call it our New Normal, which by my calculations I only have to endure for 107 days and 18 more hours until she’s home for Christmas. I mean, approximately.

  • Out at dinner the other night, the hostess asks us how many in our party. “Three,” I answer, and then Thing 2 and I look at each other and break into anguish.
  • Passing up Thing 1’s brand of bread at Target and only getting the kind Thing 2 likes.
  • Buying way too many lunchbox snacks for only one lunch. My pantry looks like a vending machine.
  • Cleaning out the girls’ shared bathroom drawers and giving Thing 2 free reign of all of them.
  • Ordering pizza and only having to order a small cheese for one child (and even then there were leftovers).
  • An empty bed available for me to sleep in when husband starts to snore. (Okay, that one’s pretty awesome.)
  • Folding the laundry and not having to yell, “Whose yoga pants are these?”
  • Having to be the only one responsible for giving her beloved cat insulin injections twice a day. Damn cat. I LOVE HER SO MUCH.
  • Keeping my phone or iPad near me 24/7 to catch any text, and shouting with glee when I hear the ‘ding!”
  • Learning how to text more quickly. (Can someone please switch the ‘i’ and the ‘o’ around for me?)
  • Only having one list of school activities to fill in on my yearly calendar. Gotta say, I’m not too bummed about the decreased choir concerts. Wait, did I just say that out loud?
  • Only having one school year pancake to make on the first day of school.
  • Only having one schedule to battle on school mornings.
  • Realizing one box of cake mix makes way too many first-day-of-school cupcakes for only one kid. (See: feeding our mopiness, above)
  • Only having one child in the first-day of school photo…at least in 3-D — see background of above title photo for the clever way I got around that. Suck it, New Normal!

Trying to adjust to all the parts of life at home as a family of three and keep the fourth one with us via a screen: The New Normal.

It’s my way of trying my best to accept this new life, but as we all know, normal is totally overrated.


For those of you who have sent kids off to college, what things were part of your New Normal? 


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  • Kristin Madura Hamilton - makes me smile a sad little smile…you are doing great Mama!ReplyCancel

  • Sue K. - This post is awesome! You’ve summed it up beautifully. Part of my new normal is needing to keep his bedroom door closed because if I even give his empty room the side eye I’ll crumble. I had to put something away in there and could only cope by dashing in and out as fast as I could. Only 30 more days until parents’ weekend . . .ReplyCancel

    • Michelle - Aww! Solidarity, sister! We’ll get through it! I’ve actually been sleeping in my daughter’s room because of the snoring going on in my own and I’m surprised it hasn’t led to a breakdown. I think I’m just so happy to get a good night’s sleep! I have 14 days until parents’ weekend and I’m as excited as if I was 14 days away from going to Hawaii!!ReplyCancel

    • Sue S - I’m going through similar withdrawl, and my kid is a Sundevil too! Fork ’em! Doesn’t help that I live 30 minutes away – giving her space to grow.ReplyCancel

      • Michelle - Gooooo Devils!! When I was a Sundevil I was coming all the way from Scottsdale (Saguaro H.S.!) so my mom was only 20 min. away and I probably went home way too often. You are smart to give her space — as much as it hurts, it’s so necessary for them. Hang in there! xoReplyCancel

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