Thursday, January 14, 2021

This may not appeal to all of my readers, but I think I will enjoy having this to look back on. I understand if you click away today.

If you are interested, grab your cup of coffee!

You may be in a different stage of parenting. You may be past this stage or you may be very far from this stage. This stage came too quickly for me! I found it helpful to read perspectives from moms with older kids.

Also, with twins and no other children, I have always felt the pressure that I only get to do each stage once. One thing I know for sure is that every kid is different (even with identical twins) and every parent is different. There really is no one size fits all when it comes to our experiences with our kids. The older I get and the more I learn the more I realize that I do not have all of the answers. I used to be Mrs. Judgey McJudgerton about parenting. Um, I got knocked down a peg or two and really try not to do this anymore. In addition, I have been working with teenagers for more than 27 years, but that still does not make me an expert.

Last spring, we were thrilled when both of our kids decided on the same college because of their close bond and because it would just be nice for us -never having done this before. Also, have you ever sent a kid to college during a pandemic? Now, I can say I have! Mason chose to get a random roommate and Jack did, too. They were assigned to two different dorms. Jack’s random roommate bailed on him, so he ended up solo.

They moved on campus in August and came back home for the end of the semester on November 20. I am not going to lie and say it was easy for them; the Covid stuff sucked. Even the in person classes were hard because they had to wear masks and had to be seated 6 feet apart, but that is the same for all the kids who got to do in-person learning. Mason only had one in-person class. The rest were online. Jack had more in-person because of his music classes. Basically, everything was different and not how college should be. The college went above and beyond; they really impressed us.

Despite the Covid stuff, they did great and were very self-sufficient. In fact, I felt like I hardly got to talk to them. I knew this was a good thing. We both needed to acclimate. One never once came home to spend the night from August – November and the other only came home one time. I think they were told not to leave campus much due to Covid. We did see them for meals sometimes, but we spent very little time with them for those months.

Tom and I got used to the empty nest; we actually had a lot of fun from August until November. We used our boat, we ate on patios, and spent more time talking to each other (ha!), I think. I was also really busy with school and learning a new job, basically, with being a virtual teacher to start the year. It also took lots of time for me to learn my new schedule.

In mid-November, I was very nervous about their homecoming. I was giddy; I was just a bit anxious about our re-adjustment. They would be home from November 20-January 6. I wanted to respect the young adults they are becoming. I wanted to give them space to do the rest of their classes and their final exams. I prayed about it. I told Tom my plan. I also talked to them right away and told them my plans to let them continue being the young adults they are.

Mason was so happy to eat my cooking and it made me happy!

Jack was being silly and telling Mason and I a story.

Mason and I enjoyed reading by the fire a couple of times.

We got Thanksgiving food from a bbq place and I missed the homemade sides, especially, but it was a nice day. We had a fire and Smores for Thanksgiving dessert! The kids were pretty busy after Thanksgiving with finishing up their classes. And, I was still teaching for 3 more weeks after Thanksgiving. I offered to go teach from school if I was bothering them and Mason told me that I was top priority and they would adjust to my needs and not the other way around. Awwww.

We did not do many activities outside of our house. I knew they were really happy to be back with the comforts of home. Jack, especially, was very worried about the virus and I would rather have him that way than being reckless. We did enjoy our art walk – the light show in the woods that we went on after Thanksgiving.

We went to the large flea market.

They are wearing the same jackets but those were weeks apart!

We celebrated with my mom.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve together and Christmas Day – just the four of us. We played games and watched shows and a movie. They picked out really thoughtful gifts for each other and Tom and I.

Opening stockings:

We had a nice surprise and got to see my high school friend and show his son around campus.

And, they had their first week of classes online at home and I left them a note. It was kind of nice to get to see what their second semester schedule would look like!

I did not ask them to jump back in to chores, but after the first week or so I noticed that they did what needed to be done – dog stuff, taking out trash, cleaning up, asking me if I needed help. It was heartwarming. So, moms of little ones, keep on teaching the chores and it will pay off!

We got all of their favorite take out – Shiraz Mediterranean, Mi Tierra mexican, pizza, and more. But, I mostly cooked and I cooked up a storm; I made all of their favorite meals.

The best bags – Ikea from Amazon:

Well, now they are both back on campus after two negative Covid tests! Jack was able to change to Mason’s dorm because his dorm was not as nice. Now, he is below Mason in a private room(he still preferred that and he can practice his music) and they can visit each other. You are not allowed to visit beyond the lobby of another dorm. It’s a small thing but it’s a big thing for our family.

Our winter break with them was better than I could have imagined. I saw so much maturity and growth. We had some great conversations. I got so many hugs! I got so many “thank yous”. My heart is full. I miss them, but I am so excited for what they will accomplish this semester. The college hours are already piling up – Mason now has 45 hours at the end of semester one and Jack has 32 hours at the end of semester one. They both had good GPAS – good enough to keep their scholarships – ha! I am sure I have forgotten some things but that is enough for now!

If you are still here, thank you for reading!

If I can answer any questions, let me know!

What stage are you in with your children?


24 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts on College Kids – First Time Back in the Nest

  1. Of course this was interesting! All American stuff are! My kids are dreaming of a year of studying in the us, but I really don’t know how we would get it to work…. (well, except pay a fortune of course :-D)
    My youngest daughter is 16, she’s doing high school (distance teaching right now). She’s on a science program, she’s doing fine but I’m not sure that science is her thing…
    Oldest daughter is 19, and she’s doing her military service up in the northern Sweden (71° right now!). She’s a real “brainer” and will study computer science when she comes home…
    Hopefully both kids will stay at home until they are at least 23-24, that’s quite normal here.


    1. Awww, thank you! I hope they get to study in the US, too. Are there programs in conjuction with your universities? That is how I did mine in Spain. I chose a program that my college supported and would take my hours earned in Spain.
      How is it that warm in N. Sweden? Yes, in the US we push our kids out of the nest earlier which is kind of odd. We are trending more toward what you do in Sweden and Europe due to the economy, cost of living, lack of college degree jobs, etc.


      1. I forgot to put in the minus when I converted celsius to Fahrenheit…! It’s -4 in norther Sweden!!!
        Yes, the universities have a lot of possibilities for studying abroad, I think that is what they should do. Cool thing: oldest daughter’s friend is playing women’s American football (minor sport in Sweden!), and she’s been drafted to an American team in San Diego! How cool is that!?!


      2. I thought was crazy warm! Wow! That is so cool! San Diego is supposed to be beautiful but CA is the strictest state with Covid and it is pretty unbearable by all accounts.


  2. I remember feeling so relieved when our boys ended up at the same school – I don’t know how parents do it when they have more than one school to deal with. I do believe going away changes them in a good way. When my boys come home they really want me to cook and they’re so happy to eat food they don’t have to pay for – ha!!
    Collin is back at school now and we leave on Saturday to move Nolan to TN. Yet another stage, he’s a grown up with a job! It doesn’t seem possible!
    Glad your boys are doing so well!


    1. I agree! It is such a comfort to have them together and to be on the same schedule. I guess you need a break from cooking now like I do, but it is healthier to cook at home and you know, Covid! I was wondering when the move was happening. Thinking of you this weekend and so excited for his next stage in life. I hope you have a smooth move.


  3. College is indeed a very exciting time of life, both for the kids and the parents. As a parent, I have so enjoyed witnessing the extreme growth that has taken in place in just a few short years. AND…this time goes by so FAST! So, enjoy every minute! I can’t believe that L. will be graduating in December. It is likely that she will have a job soon after graduation, but we have told her that it will be fine for her to live at home for awhile, if she wants, to save some money before getting out on her own. So many stages that our kids go through, but an interesting thing that I have noticed is that, as parents, we are so caught up on guiding our children through these stages, that we kind of ignore the stages that we, as parents, are moving through….and when our kids are away, us parents start thinking about our own lives more. I have found this to be both exciting and terrifying, all at the same time! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! I couldn’t agree more on all accounts. L has done so well. I think it’s smart to move home for a while financially and to get on your feet professionally. That is the norm in other countries; most don’t ever go away until their twenties!


  4. Such a great post about your boys and college – I have a 4th grader so college is long ways for me still but it’s been a tough 11 months she has been in school in person since August which is great. Good luck rest of the year


    1. Thank you, Tara! Yes, you have a long way to go. I know it has been so tough for the young kids and their parents. I cannot even imagine. I am so glad she gets the in person experience at least. Thanks; I will need it!


  5. It sounds like you all enjoyed your time back together- they’ll be home again before you know it mama! Thanks for sharing some of your sweet moments!


  6. Ours are “grown and flown”!! Both college graduates. Oldest is 31 and married – no kids. Doesn’t want kids so I have a grand dog! and my youngest is 28- single (kind of hard to meet anyone during a pandemic too!) but is definitely ready for that special someone to share her life with! I love them both dearly but this is my favorite stage! Both have great incomes and we are so proud of them. It is fun when you know you have raised kind, caring, self sufficient and wonderful adults!


    1. What a great feeling of accomplishment! They sound like wonderful humans. I think your daughter should go to Kelly’s Korner singles! It is a blog and she also helps match people up! I would have to do online with the pandemic but that is a bit scary.


      1. I have never heard of this Kelly’s Korner! I will check it out. If I told her about this she would be like “mom……really!” haha! Hey it is hard to meet people during a pandemic. Especially in California! Thanks for the info!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. She is an Arkansas blogger who has blogged for a long time. It’s worth looking at! I think she may have an Instagram account called kellys korner singles and she is responsible for 30 marriages now!
        Tell your daughter that the same lady who told her to do telehealth said to do this. She will become my number one fan!


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