I live in a University town.
This time of year is my favourite because all of students start their pilgrimage back to school. I can’t get enough of the wide eyed newbies walking the campus with Mum and Dad. The stores are packed with students pushing carts filled with tiny little refrigerators and beds in bags that scream dorm room while their parents trail behind them wallets in hand, eyes filled with both excitement and fear.
It brings back so many wonderful memories.
I was once that wide eyed newbie walking onto a huge campus with no idea what the next four years would hold for me. My parents were once trailing behind me heart filled with pride, eyes filled with tears as they helped me move my stuff into a student apartment on campus.
I was 18 years old the day that I moved out of my childhood bedroom and into a shared room on a University campus. I was an hour away from home and in the big city. I remember hearing the music pumping from what would be my residence for the next year. I remember the nerves that shook me when my new roommate stuck out her hand and introduced herself. It blew my mind that I just met this girl and we were going to be sleeping in the same room that very night.
I remember that first party and how I drank a little too much.
I felt like a small fish in a big pond.
Those 4 years changed my life.
I moved from residence to apartment. I found my way around the city on the subway. I learned how to manage money and how to pay my own bills. I learned the importance of time management and how to balance working with classes and school work. I both made and lost friends. I created a lifetime of memories.
I had the time of my life.
It all seems like yesterday.
This past weekend as I watched the new students moving into their dorms I found myself thinking they looked so young. I quickly realized that the students aren’t the ones getting younger…it’s me that’s getting older.
Before I know it my own children will be beginning their post-secondary journey and I found myself secretly hoping they decide to go away to school.
I can’t imagine myself ready for my children to move out in 10 years; I feel like I just had them. But I know that the lessons that they will learn living on their own will travel with them throughout their life.
I don’t want them to go from our home to their married home. I don’t want them to go from me and their Dad to a partner. I want them to live alone or with roommates. I want them to have some time where they don’t have to answer to anyone but themselves. I want them to discover the world without me. I want them to learn about themselves in a way that I think they can only do in a place where I am not hovering over them.
I want them to live alone so that when they do decide to settle down and find themselves a partner they know that they are capable of doing it on their own.
I learned so much about myself in the years I lived on my own. I got to know myself intimately. I fell down and learned to get back up again. I gained an immense amount of confidence. I built bonds with people that I never would have met had I not pushed myself out into the world. I don’t think I would be who I am now without those years.
I am proud of all the things that I accomplished during those years.
I was a week shy of turning 19 when I first moved into that dorm room. I moved from dorm to apartment and when I finally moved in with my now husband at 25 years old I never looked back.
It’s going to break a little piece of my heart if my children decide to go away to school but it will also fill me with so much pride and excitement.
As I watched parents moving their children into their dorms this weekend, exploring the campus together, I found myself relating to them more than the students. I realized that I’m on the other side of the game now. It won’t be long until someone is watching me gently pushing my kids out of the nest. I peered into their lives from the passenger side of my car, my own kids tucked safely in their booster seats behind me, with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes.
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