It’s all over but the shouting…

family car packed for collegeThe laundry is all caught up, the cars are packed and in a little over two hours we will be leaving for our very last “move-in” of an undergraduate student. Our youngest is beginning her senior year of college in a few days and I wonder where the time has gone!

It seems like only a short time ago that we set off on our first journey – to Sewanee, The University of the South – with our oldest.  That 12 hour trip was tackled with my in-laws, who accompanied us to Tennessee, completely loaded down with what we thought were all of the necessities of college life. That was ten years ago! It is amazing that we have spent the last decade supporting the lives of our children in college. Since then we have moved in to three other colleges – St Bonaventure University, Penn State – Behrend and Baldwin Wallace University née College , and we have the T-shirts to prove it!

We have moved our three daughters into double rooms, single rooms and apartments. We’ve carried refrigerators and extra chairs and clothes up three flights of stairs in 90 degree heat with 100% humidity and into basement apartments in pouring rain – assisted by siblings and boyfriends and acquaintances.  We have unloaded in New York, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and met so many roommates and sorority sisters over the years that we can’t remember who belongs to whom.

Sam Walton has been the beneficiary of hundreds (if not thousands) of our hard-earned dollars as we purchased over-the-door hooks, and sticky goo to hang posters, clothes hangers, plastic tubs and shower mats. I have always been the official “bed-maker”. I am sure that it is my mothering instinct that wants to make sure they have a place to lie their heads when the flurry of that first day is over.

It seems as though this is the end of an era for us on the Hill.  Sure, there will be future apartments in new cities with new roommates and perhaps even spouses, but this is the last true college move-in day. As I explained in a previous post, these days are bittersweet to me, as I never attended a residential college. As exhausting as the day is sure to be, I truly do enjoy the feeling of excitement that I get when we arrive on campus – the shouts of welcome from their friends who they missed over the summer, the newly decorated (and clean – for a short time, anyways) dorm rooms, the bookstore, the ever-present oak trees, even the squirrels.

I am going to miss this annual ritual and the feelings of hope and promise that it fills me with each year. I am sure the year will fly by and before we know it we will be leaving for commencement!

Man, I am getting old.

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Not guilty?

Gavel, guilty
*click for image source

I have a predisposition to feel responsible in almost every situation.  I don’t know if it is a “female thing” or a “Mom thing” or just an annoying personality trait that tends to run in my family, but sometimes I feel like I am constantly repeating “woulda, coulda, shoulda” to myself over and over and

When I review past events in my mind I always think that I could have done things differently or should have accomplished more. At home I never seem to finish all of the chores that I intend to. At work I sometimes jump from project to project, not completing anything. I feel like I should be a better Mom, a better wife, or a better friend. I do this to myself. Nobody out there is condemning or chastising me for the things I have done or not done. This guilt is completely self-induced.

Often these things that I feel guilty about wake me from a sound sleep causing the kind of middle-of-the-night worry that is magnified ten-fold. I tend to second-guess my own decisions and punish myself for my real or imagined misdeeds, so much so that any kind of consequence doled out by another source could never compare in severity. I know that I am not alone in feeling this way. Why is it that so many women that I know suffer from this compulsion to be so critical of ourselves?

This week I had to make a couple of decisions that caused me to feel more guilty than usual. One involved a family member and another involved a friend. In both cases I felt like I let them down, even though the decisions that I made were reasonable and necessary. This guilt has worn on me all week and this weekend I am feeling tired and unfocused.

As a result, I made a conscious decision today to just go with the flow. This morning I surfed the internet, did a little yoga and Skyped with Fee and her parents. This afternoon I may have a cup of tea and even a nap. I refuse to feel guilty for not doing anything.

You know what? The house will still be dirty tomorrow, the groceries will somehow be purchased, the work that I should be doing will still be there for me to finish.

Some days you just have to be gentle with yourself.

Friday Fun

Life on the Hill has been a little stressful lately.  I have a lot in my head that I want to write down, but not enough time to do it.

I have decided to start a new feature here  where I can share a bright spot from my week – something that made me laugh or smile and that I would like to share with you all. I intend to do this from time to time, just to let you all know that I am still alive and kicking, if not feeling particularly verbose.

The attached video really reminds me of our lab Max. He is a big, floppy, friendly guy like this, but I don’t believe he has quite enough “upstairs” to accomplish this neat trick.  (I like to say that he is pretty, but not very bright.  I don’t think that Jim necessarily agrees, though)

Please enjoy this first installment of “Friday Fun”:

I watched it over and over and it makes me laugh every time!

Have a great Friday, everyone!