Thursday, August 14, 2014

DD1 Leaves Home For College. . . Take Two!

DD1 graduated high school in 2012.  That August, we drove her all the way out to Minnesota to start college.  It was a time of joyous exhilaration:  she was grown up, she was leaving home, she was attending the college of her choice, and DH and I had merely one child of our brood of four left at this little place here.  Hooray, DD1!  Hooray DH and I!

Well, that didn't last long.  DD1 experienced severe homesickness.  She called every day!!  Every day!  When my sons had left home, I rarely heard from them, and I missed them.  With DD1 I heard from her every day (mostly complaints), and I honestly didn't get the opportunity to miss her.

Within a month, she was making noises about transferring colleges and coming back to Michigan.  I encouraged her to stick it out, saying transitions like this (from being a child at home to on your own/in college) take several months to work themselves out.

Within two months, she was calling DH and asking him to come get her when the semester was over.  She called DH with this, because every time she would start on the subject with me, I'd tell her she needed to keep with it, to finish the entire year, that she hadn't been away long enough to truly be transitioned yet.

By the third month, she'd called the community college near this little place here, registered herself, and signed up for winter semester classes to start in January.  Then she called her father and told him which day her semester in Minnesota ended. Then DH told me she was moving back home, and just before Christmas we would be making the long trek (12 hours!!) to Minnesota to bring back her and all the stuff we'd just taken out there in August.

Hmmmm.  I'll be honest.  I wasn't happy.  I felt DD1 was taking the easy way out, and DH was letting her.  One semester of college away from home.  That was it.  Really?!?  And she was moving back in free of charge. Despite the fact that we had always told our teens that after high school they could go to college or in the service or work full time, but they could not live at home rent-free, DH was now against charging her rent.  Really?!?  What happened to guiding them on the path of adulthood?

I'll spare my readers the details of the past twenty months.  It hasn't been smooth, having DD1 move back home.  In some ways, it's like she wants to be a kid again, yet she does less chores than she did when she was a kid in high school.  Granted, she has gone to community college full time since she's moved back home, as well as taken 1-3 classes each summer semester (transferring messed up her credits and she's had to take some classes very similar to the ones she took in MN that didn't transfer after all), and she's worked part time too.  But she's been living here rent free, doing the bare minimum of chores--is washing the dishes two nights a week too much to ask???--and her belongings have been spreading to take up way more space than they did when she was a child at home.  Not to mention the attitudes she pulls with me, which DH lets slide.

To say it's been less than a bed of roses would be an understatement.

Now, however, DD1 is ready (in her mind) to leave home for college again. She has enrolled in a college on the west side of the state, secured a roommate and an apartment, and is moving an hour and a half away.  Far enough that apparently she feels some 'freedom', yet close enough that she can come home every weekend if she wishes.

Am I sad to see her go?  Heck no!!  I'm so glad she's going!  My goodness, she's twenty years old!  It's time for her to fly!  Past time, if I'm going to be brutally honest.  I moved 500 miles away from home at nineteen and never looked back.  In my opinion, this girl is behind schedule on the maturity/responsibility scale; both her brothers left home right after high school and have been flying solo ever since.  When they do come home, it's to visit, and they have manners and respect for their parents.

Not to mention that having two women both trying to influence how a household runs just does not work.  This house is mine.  If DD1 wants to have furniture a certain way, or a particular menu, or leave clothes in the washing machine all day, or have hair and make-up items scattered all over the bathroom and dirty clothes piled on the end of the couch and bowls and cups and plates stacked on end tables, she can do it at her own house, not here.  If she wants a particular thing to eat, she can go to the grocery store and buy it, then bring it home and cook it.  I won't miss her pretty much daily complaints over our food supply and menus.

So I am not a bit sad to have DD1 leaving home (again). I'm looking forward to things running smoother around this little place here.  I'm hoping that she will stay gone this time; finish off college, start a career, and never need to move back in with her parents again.

Because that, in my mind, is what every parent's goal should be:  to raise up their children so that when those children become adults (ahem, the age of eighteen; a legal adult), they are ready to leave home, succeed at taking care of themselves, and not live forever (or a decade, or whatever) in their childhood home with their parents.

Not that I don't love her.  I do. Very much.  And because I love her so much, I know that continuing to live at her childhood home (with DH still wanting to let her be a child) is not good for her in the long run.  It's time for her to go, to fly, to be the head of her own home.

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