My son Tyler has finally gone off to college. He transferred to USC (that's U of South Carolina, not Southern California) as a sophomore. Last year, Tyler commuted to UCONN's Avery Point campus in nearby Groton, CT, a big disappointment for all of us. UCONN is in such demand that unless you are in the very top echelon academically, you have to go to one of their smaller campuses for two years before qualifying to transfer to the main campus in Storrs, CT. We all wanted Tyler's college experience to be one of living on campus; commuting from home took all the fun out of it. I have to mention that had Tyler applied to schools during his senior year withOUT consideration of where his girlfriend wanted to go, he probably could have avoided the whole Avery Point thing. But try to explain to a 17-year-old that the likelihood of a high school sweetheart truly being "the one" and lasting through the changes of young adulthood are rare. I only wish that Tyler and his girlfriend had broken up 6 months prior instead of right after the Senior Prom. Oh well, it gives me a teaching moment for his younger sister of what not to do.
We had a marathon run from Connecticut to South Carolina, leaving on a Wednesday and returning on Friday. 16 hours of total drive time, most of which was pretty smooth since we took the west side up I-81 and avoided the nemessis of the East Coast, I-95.
Tyler couldn't get on-campus housing and is renting a 3-bedroom apartment about 2 blocks from campus. He has his own room and bathroom, a far cry from my college days of going down the dorm hall to use the bathroom with 20 other girls. He didn't want any help from his parents to set his room up, but did accept help from Kelsey.
The latest Toy Story movie came out this summer in which Andy, the boy who owns the characters of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and company, goes off to college. True to my nature, I cried during the last half of the movie. I relate to the scene where Andy's mother comes into his empty room after her son has packed up all his belongings and realizes that this is it, her first-born child is actually leaving her.
Kelsey had the hardest time saying good-bye to her brother. The closeness between the two who are four years apart in age is one of my proudest as a mother. The normal animosity, jealousy, and meaness that is natural between most siblings was never an issue between Tyler and Kelsey. They are not just bonded by DNA, but by a close friendship.
Tyler in his USC apartment
The nostalgia, his empty room, the void left by his absence, the tremendous loss his sister feels....all are off-set by our happiness for him. As I tried to console Kelsey a couple of days ago, I told her we were successful in raising a person who wants to grow up and leave home. Now we get to decide what to do with his bedroom.