Coffee Talk: College Drop-Off Edition

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 D and R came out to say good-bye to C, 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.

C 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 C 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.

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 C’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 D’s car sitting all by itself, beside the empty spot that C’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 C 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 C settled and made it home safely. And also from the sadness of knowing how much she and Savannah miss each other. C 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!

D has already left for work, and I’m about to go pick up R 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!!!

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29 Responses

  1. Jo-Lynne, so glad that Caroline’s move to college went well and that you made it home safely. I suspect that Savannah will become your shadow now that Caroline is at college.

  2. Love your positive comments about moving your daughter into college! Mine are a recent college grad and a college senior. The pangs of missing them lighten with each year that they are away, mine too a long car ride. Our joy of seeing them grow and enjoying their college life lessens our pain for sure, as you know. So enjoyed your post! 😊

  3. Glad to hear you are home safe. The moments when it hits you that they are far away are weird. Warning that the grocery store can be especially triggering. You see that brand of cereal or chips or whatever that you only buy for them…realize you don’t need it and want to burst into tears at the store. Well, maybe that ‘s just me. Always love your ability to acknowledge what’s going on in the world without getting too caught up in it. This is why your blog is a daily stop for me.

  4. It sounds like your drop-off was adventure-packed, Jo-Lynne. I’m glad to hear that Caroline is settling in well. Give yourself some grace as you adjust to the new normal. You deserve it! Sending a big cyber hug.

  5. Glad you made it safely. We moved our first in on Wednesday from NJ to PA…I was wondering what to wear for the move!

  6. Successful drop off and set up! You’ve had quite a few crazy busy days! I love that you were able to have dinner at the same place as you did 28 years ago ❤️. And for the record, I love that shirt and you look good in it, pretty lady!

  7. Wow all of this brings back such memories. I felt like my kids were in Elementary school forever. in High School a bit. The college years were a blur. I’m sure Caroline will be very happy. Oh by the way the dress she had on was so sweet!

  8. I’m so glad to hear that you made it back safely. When I heard about the hurricane, you were the first person I thought of. This California girl can’t begin to imagine driving through a hurricane. 😝
    Give Savannah lots of love and grace the next few weeks. It sound like she may need it the most.

  9. Glad to hear you are back safely! And glad that Caroline is settled in and seems to be doing well. I hope you and Paul and relaxing today after the drive.

  10. What a sweet miracle to have dinner where you and Paul met on a blind date! A Godwinks moment for sure, taking you back to your beginnings as a reassurance. What a blessing that Caroline is launching, though of course she’ll be missed!!! You and Savannah take care of each other.

  11. SO glad you’re home safe and sound! That trip home from New England is always tough (we’ve done it many times), but add in a hurricane? Yikes! I know you’ll miss Caroline, especially as I remember that she attended Cyber School from your house for quite a few years, so she was always “home”! You’ll both adjust well, but it may take time. I love that you found and ate at your “first date” restaurant!!! And I love the blouse you’re wearing, I have a similar LOFT top and it’s one of my favs!! Now you can concentrate on getting Becca back to school and Paul through his surgery. Never a dull moment!!!

  12. This is a tuff time and you should be focused on your kids well being, instead of all the drama going on in our world. It’s OK… The news will be here once the dust settles. Take your time… I am already feeling a tad down as my daughter also named Caroline will be leaving for college next year. It’s not easy for us moms.

  13. Happy to hear you are home safely.

    Funny how we want so much for our children to be grown and set out on their own…and when it happens it breaks our hearts just a little.
    I swear, at times, I think I still hear my son playing his guitar when I get home. And he has a family of his own now.

    What a wonderful adventure Caroline is starting…I hope she makes some amazing friends, has inspiring professors, and makes some great memories.

  14. I’ve been a reader here since C was in elementary school! My kids are younger than yours and I’ve always loved reading about your kids and their adventures as it gives me a preview of what’s to come. I hope Caroline knows how many people there are like me, who she’s never met, are pulling for her and praying for her. It sounds like she is on a beautiful path! I hope things are okay for you as you settle in to your new routine with her in Massachusetts!

    1. Sarah said it beautifully: your community of kind hearted women are rooting for Caroline as she embarks on college life. So glad to hear that you made it through the hurricane rains and can take it easy today. Your east coast has hurricanes. Our west coast is on fire 🤷🏻‍♀️oy!!

  15. I am so thankful that you and Paul were able to get a few hours sleep last night then continue the drive home. Driving in those kinds of conditions is nothing but stressful. It sounds like Caroline’s college experience is getting off to a good start. How cool that you got to participate as an alumni. I bet Savannah is going to start staying real close to you, especially when you are working in your office. I hope that y’all are able to get some rest this afternoon.

  16. Oh my, I am sitting here with tears in my eyes reading your story. Next year at this time we will be doing the same with our twins. I’m feeling the pain already; time goes by too fast. So glad you made it home safely and your daughter is doing well!

  17. Oh Jo-Lynne, I couldn’t hold the tears back just reading your story. It’s just always hard, isn’t it? You have set her up for a smashing success her entire life, but when they let go of your hand and take that step forward, it is just so hard! She is going to do great and so are you. But it’s hard. I am glad it went so well. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Glad you’re home safe and Caroline’s move-in went well (always an adventure!)! God bless you on this new chapter in your and your family’s lives. It’s wonderful experience seeing our children grow into adults!

  19. College drop offs are so hard! So thankful dropping off your daughter went well! She will do great, as you and your husband have provided her with all she needs to succeed, a loving home with a great supportive family! Here’s to a great year ahead for her, full of fun, friendships and studying!!

  20. So glad it went well. Thanks for update. Look forward to updates during the year. Glad you made it safely home♥️

  21. Oh thanks for the very nice updated post. I have been thinking and about you all and praying. Glad to hear it all went as well as possible and you made it home safe from the weather. I really could feel your emotions and can sympathize and understand it ALL. Lots of life changes in this life. You don’t seem not concerned about what is going on in the world. You need to have a good balance and we have to live life, even with all the hard stuff around us. Most importantly we need to pray, pray, pray. God tells us in HIS word to Pray without ceasing. So neat you and Paul got an evening out together at the spot you met. I think the picture of you is very nice and you look good in the blouse. I have always liked that one on you. Rest up and feel refreshed for a new start tomorrow.

  22. Sounds like Caroline has everything under control! You now get to see the young lady you have raised spread her wings! So glad you all made it there and back safely.. sounds like the move in was perfectly timed. Stay safe through the storm! We may just get some rain here the next two days… 😕

  23. Jo-Lynne, so glad the move went well and so smoothly. Also, answer to prayer that Caroline has a nice roommate- that is such a blessing! She will do great and so will you and your family-lots of prayer! I know that Savannah will want to cuddle a lot…and so will you! Thank you for sharing your story and thankful that you and Paul arrived home safely through the hurricane!

  24. I hope Caroline settles in and feels at home soon. It must give her strength to know how much you support her in this. When my children left for college, it didn’t hit me for a few weeks that they were really gone, and not just away at camp. I agree with another commenter that the grocery store can be triggering. I cried in the produce section the first time I shopped and realized I didn’t need to buy certain foods. There’s definitely a grieving process.

    Regarding your crowded Target run–I live in a university town. We locals all know to avoid Target during move in week!

  25. So happy you got your daughter settled at college and made it home safely! OMG, seems like you are always dealing with some kind of crazy weather on the East coast where you live and travel…makes me happy I live in Colorado!!!! At least your college girl is not too far away!!!!

  26. So glad it all went well and everyone is settling in. I remember those Target runs on move-in day! Praying for a good transition for you all.

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