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Coffee Talk 08.01.21

Greetings and salutations on this first day of August! I have a lump in my throat, writing that. The countdown is officially on. We take my daughter to college on August 19th, and I think it’s safe to say, none of us are quite ready for this. It’s definitely a new frontier.

When her older brother went to college three years ago, he chose to stay close to home. Even though he lived in a dorm on campus, he was close enough that I could drop something by if I needed to, and we got to go to the football games and see him play in the marching band. Plus, his roommate was a good friend from high school, so that eliminated a certain degree of stress from the situation.

As much as I’d encouraged him to go farther away and spread his wings a bit, I was relieved when it came time to drop him off at college. I remember thinking that I was so glad I didn’t have to face the daunting task of dropping my child off at college on the other side of the state and driving away.

Well, he bought me some time… three years to be exact, but it looks like I’m going to have that moment with child #2 in just a few short weeks.

In this case, Caroline will be six hours away from home, and she doesn’t know a soul she will be going to college with. And while she is guaranteed a spot in one of the choral ensembles, thanks to a scholarship she received, she won’t meet anyone or get involved until she gets there. David, at least, got to meet some of the other kids in the marching band at the auditions during the summer.

Caroline is also in a different situation due to being cyber-schooled for the past 5 years. Returning to the classroom is going to be an adjustment, and she’s nervous about making new friends… she hasn’t had to do that in quite some time. But her biggest concern is leaving Savannah — her beloved canine friend and constant companion. That will, by far, be the biggest adjustment.

Caroline is pretty independent, and she’s not afraid of getting homesick or missing me; it’s leaving Savannah that is going to be so hard. Not only will she miss her while she’s away, but she worries that she doesn’t have many years left with her, as she’s getting up there in age. We aren’t even really sure how old she is because we got her as a rescue nine years ago. We’re guessing she’s 11 or 12… but she could be even older.

Anyway! To say we’re all a little nervous and on edge about this new adventure is a bit of an understatement. I’m comforting myself with the knowledge that we have family in the area who Caroline can reach out to if she needs to see some familiar faces, and at the end of the day, she’s only a six hour drive or a short plane flight away.

In other news, Becca starts percussion camp tomorrow (she plays the mallets) and she’s looking forward to a more typical marching band experience this year. While they did get to play last year, and parents were allowed in the stands to see the season finale performance, there were no football games or Cavalcades or any of the usual activities.

She’s a sophomore, so this will be the first year she gets the full high school marching band experience, and I hope nothing happens to change that. At the moment, they’re proceeding as everything is back to normal, but we’re still waiting to hear what the protocols will be for the school year. I suppose that might also affect sports and music activities, but I’m choosing to remain optimistic.

And I don’t have much to report on David, but yes, I do have a son too! I’m sure he would prefer I leave his name off the blog, anyway. He’s still working and living here at home, and he’s planning to take a few college courses this fall. He would be a senior this year, but he’s planning to spread his final credits out over the next three or four semesters.

It seems strange to me, as someone who took the traditional 4-year college route, but I guess there’s no reason to rush through it if he’s going to be living at home and working anyway.

So yeah, that’s the latest. Paul is probably going to have his surgery at the beginning of September, and I’m just over here trying to keep everyone on track. We have a bunch of appointments for various things we’re working through, and that keeps me busy. This is usually the “slow season” for the blog, but with everything else going on, I’m still scrambling to get my daily posts up on time.

We had friends over last night, which was nice, and it’s another rainy Sunday over here so maybe I’ll take a nap this afternoon.

I hope you enjoy what’s left of your weekend!

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36 thoughts on “Coffee Talk 08.01.21

  1. I sent three kids off to college. One 4 hours, other two were flights away. I will say the first semester was hard for each of them. If she can hang in there and realize everyone is in the same boat trying to make friends and keep putting herself out there she will do well. One of mine collect friends everywhere first semester, then slowly figured out which were “keepers” 🙂 Having a group to join will be great! Good luck to both of you!! Many prayers for the college kids this year!! Last year with covid was terrible so hoping for a better Sophomore year!

  2. Awwww, the college years, I remember them well. Biggest adjustment for us was when older child went away, younger child was lost and didn’t appreciate all the parent’s attention all the time! After two years, child #2 was more than ready to go away for college! Haha!! Family dynamics can really change!! Have a restful Sunday!!

  3. This send your kid to college or even talking to them about they see for there future. My daughter has terrible anxiety. so I have to tread lightly. She will be taking some course at a local community college for now. But i did tell her if she want to go to school in NY we have family there and NC she has family there she could. its just so hard cause the world says they are adults but they aren’t.

  4. I feel your pain; we have twins that are entering their senior year in high school, so we are just at the beginning of this journey…it all makes me incredibly nervous, excited, sad, all at the same time…where do the years go? I hope I can keep it together. Anyway, good luck with the kiddos this year, I hope they have a great school year.

  5. Dropping my daughter off at college was very difficult. She was 700 miles away – yikes! And she knew no one. She was very nervous (and upset when I dropped her off.) And I couldn’t stop crying either as I drove home, alone (I was newly divorced.) I reassured her that everyone was just as nervous/scared as she was (even if they didn’t show it). I taught at a university, and I was familiar with new freshmen and their adjustment. She was fine within 24 hours (it was a difficult first night for her, not knowing anyone.) I did tell her that if she really didn’t like it, she could transfer; it wasn’t a life-long decision. She loved college, met wonderful friends she is still close to, and met her now husband.
    My first piece of advice for all students – talk to your professors. Don’t wait until there is a major problem. Faculty are there for the students, and we enjoy meeting with students, helping them with any difficulties, no matter how large or small. That is what I really miss about retirement – the students and talking with them. I am still friends with many on Facebook and Instagram, and I love sharing our lives.
    It was much harder for me than for her! And now we have moved closer to them (only 30 minutes away)!
    Best of luck! Any anxiety and sadness she is feeling are normal.

    1. Great advice to tell our college kids to talk to their professors and get to know them. My oldest graduated last year and now he’s applying to grad school and he needs letters of recommendation from several teachers in his subject area and he’s worried none of them will remember him (he didn’t form connections with any professors, just went up class, did his work and kept a low profile.) I told him to send an email with attachments of a couple good papers he wrote to show the professors who he is. It’s all just strange to be having to guide my 25 year old in this way. When I was 25 I was already working full time and planning my wedding. Times have changed for sure!

      1. Yes, they think they’re so grown, but they’re so not. When I was 25 I was out of college, married three years, working full-time, and soon to be pregnant with my first child.

  6. I sent to daughters off to college and the closer of the 2 was 12 hours away! I always suggest parents plan a visit sometime during October. That’s the time they both started feeing overwhelmed-combination of homesickness, stress over classes/midterms, and they are getting tired of dorm food. Even if Caroline doesn’t have time to come home, if you can go and take her and some friends out for some good meals and restock her laundry detergent and snacks, if gives them a boost to make it til Thanksgiving.

  7. Where is she attending college? I’m also sending my second. My first was one 10 hours away and this one is 6.

  8. Although I think you and I are close in age, my kids are much younger (my oldest is about to start high school). Just reading about your kids going to college makes me anxious for my own, but being a Mom has taught me to “roll with the punches” and I am getting pretty good at it, as I am sure you are too. Hopefully your busy schedule will help keep all the nerves at bay. Good luck – I’ll be thinking of you. Katie, from Spokane, WA

  9. Brought me to tears reading about how close Caroline and Savannah are. Dogs are such a comfort and can be best friends. I’m sure leaving her is going to difficult, for both of them. And you can’t explain to dogs where a family member went.

    Good luck with the transition Jolynne. It can be very hard but also very fun for all of you! I always loved hearing about experiences and meeting new friends.

  10. It sounds like you have lots going on in your world. You said you have family close by so sounds like you’re all set but I’m sure if you reached out, you would have a whole army of the Jo-Lynne fan club close by to Caroline if she needed anything. I am about a hour away also happy to help! 😀
    Good luck with all your happenings. Prayers and peace!

  11. It’s definitely quite an adjustment when children go to off to college or just move out in general. Perhaps Caroline can facetime or Zoom so that Savannah can see her and hear her voice…some comfort for both!

  12. I can relate to your anxiety about college and Caroline. Our oldest son was in the Army ROTC program went to a military college over four hours away. The school took away the cadets’ cell phones until they completed multiple tests and memorized procedures, so that was a challenge to not know how he was doing for a couple of weeks at the start of school.. Our youngest son went to a closer college but like our oldest, he knew no one there, so he had to make friends and find his own way. He joined several campus groups which was a great place to meet people who share similar interests. That is one great idea for Caroline, to look for a group (or several) to join. Most colleges have so many groups, it hard to narrow it down to a few! I truly believe Caroline will flourish in college as she finds her footing being on her own and also making good friends to enjoy the journey with! It’s a very wonderful, exciting time! Our boys both finished college with the very best of friends that I know they will stay in touch with forever! (I feel like making and finding special friends is as important that that major they studied so hard to get! Haha!) Keep encouraging Caroline to get involved when she gets there and she’ll do awesome!

  13. My daughter went to school 5 hours away from home. She also knew no one when she arrived. It turned out to be the best 4 years of her life. She made some wonderful friends and enjoyed everything about her experience.
    I cried the whole ride home!
    It is an adjustment, but I think she will do great 😊

  14. Hi Jolynne , I follow you from the UK & my eldest has completed 2 years at Uni over here but is flying to the US mid August for a year at College in Los Angeles. Like you we are counting down with trepidation & sleepless nights …………as the UK is small compared to the US it’s been really helpful to read all the comments about how many hours away your children are! Hopefully you will both have an easy transition.

  15. I left my eldest daughter behind when we moved from the east coast to the west coast. She was in the last year of high school and didn’t want to leave her boyfriend and graduating with her friends was important. As hard as it was, we knew that staying was right for her. So we made arrangements and left her behind. She went onto university and has been successful in life. I missed her and worried some but it was time to let our independent, outgoing daughter to fly. All that to say, I understand the worry but we have to have trust that they will be safe and happy in this next chapter of their young lives.

  16. Oh JoLynne, I totally know how you’re feeling. My son was 6-7 hours away from home. It will be hard when she’s gone and you walk into her bedroom. That’s when it would really hit me and I’d sit on my son’s bed and cry. And my younger son missed his brother a lot. Thank goodness for FaceTime and Zoom! Hoping for a smooth transition for you and the whole family! ❤️

  17. Hi Jo-Lynne. I can certainly identify your concern about Caroline missing her precious canine pal. My daughter definitely missed her dog Benji more than she missed me. Ha! FaceTime will be the best remedy. But it will be hard at times. Our Benji passed away a little over a year ago and it was hard for Abby. But in many ways not being here to face the reality of it helped her to heal. Enjoy these final couple of weeks with your family all there. The transition will present some challenges and fluctuating emotions, but you will all rise to the occasion. Grace sufficient for each day, nothing more but nothing less. 🥰

  18. Caroline seems to have a really good work ethic and gets things done. She’ll do great at college. Take comfort that you have family members near in case she needs anything. I’m sure some of your followers would also be glad to help out. Maybe you could meet a couple of them for lunch so you’d feel more comfortable. They might even have a child at her college.

  19. Bravo to Caroline for going out of her comfort zone! I remember telling my daughter that this was an opportunity to be whoever she wanted to be as no one at college knew her before. She only went an hour away for school and I thought I’d handle it better as her brother went in the military and that was brutal (no communication at all until he finished boot camp several months later). Nonetheless I cried the whole way home. Certainly you miss them, but I think it has more to do with the fact that their childhood is over-where did that go?! I’m sad thinking about it now! You’ll be fine. It sounds like you’re going to have a busy September which should help you cope better. I wish you all well.

  20. Hi!

    I just wanted to say I’ve been reading your blog for many years now and always enjoy your “coffee talk” as you are open, down to earth and very relatable.

    And I dress far better now with you doing the work for me!

  21. Our daughter went to college five hours away the college she picked that college from day one, and then finally orientation day she was upset with us before she changed her mind because a boyfriend from high school anyways fir the three first months she came home in the weekends, and then she became a member of a sorority with other ladies and it was a pleasure fir the next four years got her bachelor Speech Therapy, and she ended up doing the master online and stayed in that area.. got a job with benefits and five year laters now very happy ,.. a successful independent Special Education teacher, and getting married in December to a boy she met at college and he is a Police Officer now.. I’m very happy she move on and went away to college..

  22. As mothers we have to step aside and watch our children venture out and find their way. My two boys are grown now and on their own but they are always your “babies”. Caroline sounds like she is very level headed and I feel sure she will find her own way and blossom, sounds like she has a lot going for her and will be involved in music and make friends with common goals. She is a lovely young lady and will be loved by all who know her. Maybe she can do some video chats with Savannah and that will ease the distance between them! Wishes go out for her new adventure!

  23. I will keep y’all in my prayers! When I went away to college, I was about three hours away from home. Like Caroline, I had an aunt & uncle in the same town, which gave all of us a little comfort. It’s fantastic that she got a choral scholarship! It’s sunny and hot down here, with high humidity, so it’s not even fun being outside. I hope to get a nap in real soon, myself. Enjoy the rest of your day.

  24. Our second went to Valley Forge from here in Massachusetts, so it was the same, in reverse. It was hard, but great too! She has lifetime friends and a great education, and God definitely sustained me. Praying for you!

  25. I relate greatly to your posts. I am your age with 3 kids. My oldest graduated from a small college in Philly. Which is an hour from us so wasn’t bad. I was releived he was close. I to had marching bad as a distraction at home, so I hope even with covid you have that to look forward to. My second son stayed close as well at a state school in NJ. He had the unfortunate experience of graduating during covid last may, so he missed out on his last semester living on campus. Now my daughter started college in fall of 2019 in Boston, it was a big transition. I took comfort in that she had family close as well (cousin and her husband) living a few miles away walking distance. I have to say the hardest thing to watch was the goodbye to our family dog as well. I took pictures of our dog and sent them often for her, but also to be honest for me to know she was ok.. My daughter joined the jazz band while in boston which was a great experience for her. Your daughter sounds like she has a great head on her shoulders and comes from a loving and supportive family.
    Ultimately my daughter transferred schools to the same school as my middle son that is only an hour away. She was at an art school, but decided she wanted to be a science major. She is such a talented artist but I think she found her passion in Geology. Right now she is on schedule to graduate a year early. Zoom worked well for her. Over the next few weeks we are preparing to send her back to school. Having her home the last year and a half our relationship has really grown. Its hard to believe she is going back. I feel for you greatly. Also, If it helps I’ve flown out of Philly on delta a few times to visit her and its only an hour flight. The prices were reasonable to. LOL

  26. I feel your pain with the college transition. We put my daughter on a plane to go to school across the country. She doesn’t start until mid-August but had some other things to do. She is in a similar situation with being homeschooled, not knowing people, etc. She was crying the night before she left because she didn’t want to leave. That made both parents cry, too! I know she’ll be happy there, though, and the tears were just last-minute nerves. My parents are only 3 hours away on the plus side, so she at least has some family closer.

  27. When we dropped off our first of three, I cried for 4 hours until we stopped at Steak & Shake. My husband asked me if I wanted anything and I hiccuped, “I could have a chocolate shake .” Pretty good glue for a broken heart 🥰

  28. An advantage of catching up late in the day is to read all the comments.
    Lots of experience and caring replies — many of us have experienced some version of launching our own children. I noticed that nobody said, ‘don’t worry — it will be fine’. It physically hurts when they leave. All situations are different, but the premise is the same — this portion of our parenting is done. It is reassuring to know how many caring people are collected in this community!! (Score one for the internet!)

  29. Yay for Caroline choosing to go somewhere where she won’t know anyone! I made that decision when I went to college back in the early 2000s, and it was by far the best decision I could have made. Growing up in a small town where everybody knows your name and names mean everything, I was a pretty independent, introverted, only had a handful of real friends teenager. When I went to college, there were only 3 people there who I knew, although not well as they were older, and I had to force myself out of my comfort zone to make friends. I did get lucky with my roommate who turned into my bestie, but the first friend I made organically I psyched myself up to simply turn around and speak to during class. Those friends became life-long friends, and to this day I do more with the people I met there than the people I grew up with.

    She’ll do great, mama!

  30. I second the advice given to get to know your professors before there’s a crisis. I always told my two boys (even though I’m pretty sure neither listened) to make friends with one or two kids who are local to the town. That way, when you need a doctor, an urgent care, a dentist, a mechanic, you’ll have someone to ask. I hope Caroline loves her school!

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