Well, good morning! I’m back home from moving my daughter into college. It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend. In true Shane fashion, we had to battle a hurricane to get home, but all’s well that ends well!
We left mid-morning on Thursday for Massachusetts, after scrambling to get some medical documentation we needed and forgot to tend to earlier. I swear, never a dull moment! Both David and Becca came out to say good-bye to Caroline, and I have some cute pictures of them all in the driveway. I was surprised that there were no tears, even when saying good-bye to Savannah, but we all held it together extremely well.
Caroline and I rode up together, and Paul went separately in our family car. I got us through New York City and up into Connecticut, and then Caroline drove the last couple of hours to give her some long distance driving practice. It’s a 6 or 7-hour trip, depending on traffic, and we made it to our hotel by dinnertime.
We stayed in a hotel on Thursday night, and then Friday morning, we were up bright and early to move her into her dorm. Her roommate was already there, so they got acquainted as we helped set up their room. They have a lot in common, and I think they’re going to get along well, so that was a relief!
After moving in what we brought from home, we did a Target run to pick up a bunch of other things she needed. It was a zoo, with everyone else doing the same thing, but we made it back and got things situated in her dorm room and then left the girls to do their thing for the evening.
Once Paul and I got back to the hotel, we realized we had the whole night to ourselves, so we went out to dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date 28 years ago… almost to the day. We were trying to remember the exact date; it was definitely late July or early August.
I share this picture only because it documents the occasion. I’m looking pretty rough, and that blouse… oy! I thought I liked that top. Anyway.
On Saturday morning, we drove back over to the college for the send-off service for parents and students. There was this whole ceremony where the kids go up and sign a scroll and are presented with a scarf. They asked any alumni parents to accompany their kids up front and present them with the scarf, so I got to participate, which was kind of cool. For some reason, Paul videoed us walking back together but didn’t get any pictures. Oh, well!
We spent the rest of the afternoon at Target and rearranging Caroline’s dorm room, and we finished up just before the parents were supposed to leave and the student orientation activities were to begin. Amazingly, we held it together really well as we said our good-byes. I think having two days to get her moved in, along with the one night going back to the hotel without her kind of eased the transition.
At that point, Paul and I had a decision to make. We had the hotel for one more night if we wanted it, but we were kind of anxious to get home, and of course Hurricane Henri was approaching the region. We decided to set out and see how far we got, so we packed up our stuff and got on the road.
As it turned out, everyone and their brother was trying to evacuate New England last night. While the weather was still fine, the roads were jam-packed, and it got worse the further south we got. Finally, we decided to stop for the night, and I think we got the last hotel room left in Connecticut. It took me a while to find one.
Our room was clean but small, and there was a noisy wedding party staying there as well, so we heard voices and TVs blaring all night. It was anything but a restful sleep, but it was enough to give us a second wind and escape the worst of the traffic. I woke up at 4AM and looked at the radar and decided we needed to get on the road.
It’s a good thing we did because we ran into some really heavy rain at one point — it was one of those situations where people were pulled off on the side of the road, and were were both getting alerts on our phones to stay off the roads because of flooding. Thankfully, we made it through the worst of it pretty quickly, and then there was just a steady drizzle for the rest of the ride home.
I was so concerned with the weather situation and stressed by the drive that I didn’t really get emotional about leaving our daughter at college until we pulled into our driveway. I saw David’s car sitting all by itself, beside the empty spot that Caroline’s car usually occupies, and the reality of the situation kind of hit me.
When we walked in the door, Savannah was the only one awake to greet us. She seemed to almost sense that Caroline wasn’t coming back, so I went over and sat on the couch, and she jumped up beside me and flipped over the way she does when she wants her belly scratched. I obliged, and then I just cuddled her for a while as she licked my face and neck and eventually curled up on my lap.
I will admit, I shed a tear or two, but more out of sheer relief that we got Caroline settled and made it home safely. And also from the sadness of knowing how much she and Savannah miss each other. Caroline is independent and will be fine without me… it is Savannah she will miss the most. She’s almost like a therapy dog to her.
I’ve already talked to her this morning, and she’s in good spirits. It seems a little surreal to think that I now have a child at college in Massachusetts, but I don’t have that aching hole in my heart that I expected. I think we worked so hard to get her there, and things have been so up in the air this summer, that I feel more relief than sadness. She’s already making friends and getting settled, and only time will tell if she likes it there or not, but for now, I’m just happy that she seems to be getting acclimated and is giving it a chance.
So yeah, that’s the latest from the Shane household!
David has already left for work, and I’m about to go pick up Becca from her sleepover, so I’ll get to hear all about her weekend. It’s good to be home, and I’m grateful for safe travel and kids that are all happy and doing things they want to do.
Lest it sound like I’m oblivious to everything going on in the world, I’ve been paying attention, but trying not to let it overwhelm my thoughts and feelings. There’s a delicate balance between caring and letting current events consume us.
Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers and encouragement throughout this process! You are all very much appreciated!!!