But Really, What ARE You Feeling?

by Mariann E. Danko

Over the course of the past couple months I’ve spent a lot time expressing the emotional roller coaster I’m feeling in regards to my Son heading off to college this month.

roller coaster

This is an extremely challenging time because I’m excited for my Son to step into his own, but at the same time fearful because it’s all new for him.

Plus, facing the reality of an empty house can be a bit much to bear some days.

In order to ease this transition, I have been doing my best to process my emotions as they roll over me, and been open and forthcoming about all of them, knowing that keeping them bottled up will make dropping my Son off at college even harder.

My Son on the other hand has been very closed mouth. I figured by early August he’d be expressing some emotions regarding his new adventure, but I only recently found out from a friend that he is indeed anxious, especially about meeting his roommate, and believe it not, worried about me being alone.

48026181 - illustration of a male teenage student thinking to himself

Finding out he’s anxious didn’t surprise me. Who wouldn’t be, it’s all new. Everything about his life will change.

But finding out he’s concerned about leaving me alone surprised me. I was touched, but it made me realize I need to make an effort to get him to express these emotions to me so I can assure him Mom will be fine, and so will he.

At about the two weeks out mark, I commented, “You do realize there’s only two weeks till we move you to college, right?”

He immediately said yes and noted he was getting excited and nervous at the same time.

I was grateful he was honest about his feelings, which opened the door for me to discuss all that he was feeling and do what I could to help ease some of his anxiety.

Home for Dinner

Our discussion at that time was brief, but because the subject had finally been addressed, it allowed me to take every opportunity since then to toss in words of advice or counsel.

When giving advice to my Son, I knew I had to reach him on a level he could relate to. So, although “The Walking Dead” worked to break threw to him during his challenging middle school and early high school years, I knew I had to up my game. (Pun intended.)

Since gaming is my Son’s thing and game design will be part of his major, I knew that was my best angle.

Although I am clueless when it comes to gaming, it is a foreign thing to me, I know enough from my Son to get the basics.

He loves quest style games, so I told him to look at going to college as just that, a quest, with the final level being that of receiving his degree.

College Quest

Pointing out that during this quest there will be obstacles, but just as one would do in a video game, you can’t let them defeat you, you have to keep persevering to get to the next level.

Also noting that during those times you have to look to your fellow teammates for support, and take advantage of the resources you have already garnered on your quest.

Whether he will take this advice is yet to be seen, but I will continue to reinforce the concept in hopes that it sticks.

Throughout the two weeks leading up to move-in day, my Son still held his emotional cards close to his chest. Even on move-in day when I asked him how he felt, he couldn’t really answer.

As can be expected when I said my good-byes I got weepy, (I’m weepy just writing about it) and hugged my Son just a little bit longer than normal.

When my Son didn’t pull away and told me he was going to cry too if I didn’t stop, I knew then that he too was feeling everything I was feeling.

As he walked off to join the peer group he would spend the next three days of orientation with, and I started my walk to my car, I paused to look up at the window where his group was.

He caught my eye, smiled and waved.

Happy Daily Routine

I waved back and blew him a kiss.

That little gesture was all it took for me to be comforted and to know my now grown-up Son would be fine. He’s got this.

When he texted me later that night to let me know he met some cool people, I knew he was working on settling into his new world with his college family.

Speaking to him two days later, I could here the enthusiasm in his voice as he told me about new friends he had already made and the things they had done.

84739404 - happy smile successful modern team of students friends

This assured me that his settling in was progressing at a nice pace.

And as I post this, I too am working on settling into my new world with my Son away at college.

Not that I don’t have my moments though.

I will keep you posted as we both journey into uncharted waters.

With that in mind, please note that over the course of the next couple months, I will be working on transitioning this blog “Waking the Walker – a Mother’s quest to survive her Son’s zombie years – aka his teens” into a new blog entitled “Waking the Woman Inside the Mom – a Mother’s quest to rediscover herself after her Son leaves for college.”

43199870 - happy women dancing

Once this transition is complete I will supply a link to the new blog.


© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Walker, 2018. All rights reserved.

Roller Coaster – Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_Krisdog’>Krisdog / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Contemplative Teen – Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_lenm’>lenm / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Happy College Students – Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_olegerin’>olegerin / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

College Quest – Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_matriyoshka’>matriyoshka / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Transition – Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_abstract412′>abstract412 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>