Silent Scream

Around these parts Jim and I have chatted frequently about our impending “Empty Nester” status. We’re not only fine with it; we embrace it. We’re all sunshine and rainbows, happy that we’re thisclose to being able to say that we have raised two boys and sent them both off to college to prepare for their own life paths. It’s pretty exciting.

It was also pretty exciting for the two of us to accompany J over the border into America’s Dairyland (Wisconsin) on Saturday so he could audition for a music scholarship. (He’ll be majoring in Business but the college offers music scholarships to non-majors: hurray!)

J, College-bound

We arrived early and had about an hour to kill so we went into the cafeteria and grabbed a table. Jim said to J, “I’m so excited for you. You’re going to really enjoy college.”

J replied, eyebrows raised and grinning from ear to ear, “Aren’t you excited for YOU, too?”

And with that, my friends, my stomach dropped out and I felt like I had been stabbed by a teeny, tiny knife. My eyes started to tear up and I promptly looked down at my phone, pretending to check a text message.

I guess here’s where it begins. I should have expected to get a little emo over this; after all, it happened with D and now here we are again, with our second and only other child. Just like so many other things that are easy to forget when you’re concentrating on the best/fun/happy stuff, I put out of my mind all of the bittersweet moments that randomly popped up and nearly took me to my knees when we went through this in 2010.

A couple of hours later when I snuck into the auditorium to grab some video footage of him practicing his guitar, pre-audition–on stage, all alone–the knot in my stomach came back. I started to feel like there was a silent scream going on in my head, and I don’t know for sure what the words were but I think they sounded something like “STOP! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING!” Maybe.

I know this is par for the course. It’s totally normal. I know it will pass, and we are just on the cusp of a major life adjustment period and will come out on the other side of it just fine. It just feels…weird. Again.

As a very wise friend–who has already sent both of her children out into the world–commented on Facebook last night, “Those moments are tough! But you wouldn’t want anything else!”

Of course I know that, but it’s always nice to get a reminder from someone who has been through the same exact thing.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go think about how I can try to keep a stiff upper lip and get through the least amount of Kleenex possible in the next six and a half months, because indeed I wouldn’t want anything else: I just have to navigate through to the other side.


  • Samantha

    As a mom of two boys myself it is reading posts like this that really make me stop to enjoy the snot-nosed, clingy age that they are at now knowing that all too soon we will be on the same path that you are. Time really flies!

    {hugs} as you transition into this tough, but VERY EXCITING new adventure! xo

  • Toni

    This makes me cry. Jake’s in the 7th grade and we are already talking about high school & college. I don’t know how I will handle it. Being alone with my husband? in this house? We’ve had Jacob almost our entire time together…I have no idea how that will go down….LOL


  • Dawndi

    HUGS…. Just, hugs.

    I’m having a really hard time with Nick graduating college. I’m not quite sure why it’s hitting me hard, but it is.

  • Shannon

    This one raises a little knot in my throat because I know that it will be me in your shoes all too soon. Your friend is right. We wouldn’t want it any other way, but that won’t stop me from sobbing all the way home from the very first college drop off.

    Pass the tissues, please.

  • Tara R.

    I do know how you feel. You’re excited for this new phase J is starting, and apprehensive about your own new adventure. It’s an adjustment, that’s for sure. Keep plenty of Kleenex handy.

  • Grandma W

    It is hard but you will love it. You will still worry that last forever it doesn’t stop. I don’t worry about you keeping busy which will help. But there will always be an empty spot in you heart.
    Love you
    Grandma W

  • Dad

    Excellent post kiddo! The feelings you described so well are certainly the norm for most parents. You and Jim will do just fine. Just always do what your mother I do when we get ‘lonesome’ for you and your sister…we think of how wonderful both of you turned out and we revel in such good feelings knowing that we ‘did our jobs’ in raising both of you.

    Mom and I are so very, very, proud of you and Jim! You have certainly accomplished everything we did while raising you and Julie!

    Stay the course Melisa. If you didn’t feel any sadness about our young men leaving the ‘nest’, I’d be worried. It’s good to feel that wayhoney, as it shows you care! Besides, I’d rather you feel sad about that then something terrible that could’ve happened. (drugs, delinquency, failing grades, kids not willing to exceed,…etc.)

    We love you! 🙂

    Dad (and Mom)

  • Bonnie

    Your parents rock! And your dad nailed it!
    Memories will sure help!
    And communication…KEY!! This weekend was like the most proud I have ever felt as a mom. And that has nothing to do with what either of my kiddies had just done; they each texted a message, that reminded me –kids listen, remember, learn values every moment they are with you. And when you feel as thought they ‘get it’….I mean, can there be anything better?!! This to, shall happen to you!!

  • Amanda

    This was amazing. This fall my third will head off to kindergarten, I kind of love the reassurance that the impact of the milestones is no less significant on the other side.

    Wishing you luck!

  • Jen @ BigBinder

    I love this post, and I love your Dad’s comment – I am not looking forward to this day with my kids, even though, like your friend said – you wouldn’t want anything else.

  • Brandie

    My kids growing up has always been bittersweet! You’re right, you wouldn’t want it any other way – they are supposed to grow up and move on, but, but, they will forever be our little babies. And that’s the part that is hard. You have to let them go, but you’ve been so entwined in their life that it’s hard.
    But, I also feel like, from what I know, your boys will always be in your life. And you in yours. Just not in the same house.

  • Lesa

    Thanks for the post. I have just recently started following your blog. I just sent my baby boy to the University of Chicago from Boise Idaho. I found your blog and I read it to in some small way fell connected to the area he is now living. Love your posts about the area and also your family. I so get your feelings and I love what your dad shared. Both of our kids are gone now and we look forward to the visits home. Just booked the boys ticket home for spring break and can’t wait! Just visited the daughter last weekend and the growth and matured we see in her is simply – well it just wells in my heart. Thanks for letting me post and for sharing your bolg.

    • Melisa Wells

      Hi Lesa,
      Thanks so much for your comment: you really made my day. Your boy is a long way from home but he’s in one of the world’s great cities at one of the best schools out there. Glad I can help connect you to the area. I’m sure your family is going to have an AWESOME spring break reunion! 😉