21 August 2011

Starting the School Year with a Difference

For the past several years, each school year has brought tiny milestones: our favorite school principal retiring, the last day a school bus stopped in front of our house, our last kid starting middle school, etc. These were all small changes, though, compared to this year. Two days ago, we drove M up to Mars Hill College and settled her into the dorm. We are now a family of five instead of six, at least until Christmas.

People keep asking me if I miss her yet, but if you really know me then you know I'm not THAT kind of mum. I did have to restrain myself from texting her several times but it wasn't because I missed her. I wanted to hear all about what she was doing. If I am having a new experience, I either text one of my friends or tweet during the whole thing because I want to share it. This time around, however, I didn't want to come off as one of those hovering parents so I'm waiting for her to contact me. I don't think I will truly feel M's absence for a couple weeks, simply because she spent half her time at the MIL's house to be closer to school for band competitions and such.

ABM and I are still mulling over all the ways that things around here will be different now that M is at uni. There will be one less person to wake up for school in the morning, one less person to worry about at dinner time (M is such a picky eater!), and one less person helping with chores. There will also be no one to watch the ballroom competitions with me and cheer when the couples bump into each other or laugh at the overly dramatic Korean soap operas with me. M and I didn't spend a lot of time together, but we enjoyed each other's company. Being the late bloomer that she is, we didn't develop that combative relationship that teenage daughters have with their mums until about six months ago, just in time for her to push off on her own.

For ABM's part, he is already going through a bit of parenting withdrawal. M was a challenging student at best, so ABM is accustomed to micro-managing her schedule. I don't know what he is going to do now that he can't call teachers, set up meetings, or have weekly progress reports. I've been trying to get ABM used to the idea that he must relinquish control and let M handle things herself, but he doesn't seem to be ready for that.
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