Moving On.

Lest you think that the only transition we’re dealing with around here is J’s high school graduation and impending departure for college this fall, turning Jim and me into Empty Nesters, I figured I’d tell you about how D just moved into an off-campus house with three roommates–he isn’t coming home this summer because he has an internship–and will graduate this December, one semester early.

I can say today that everything on both fronts is going very well, but we’ve had some rocky patches over the past couple of months which prompted me to send an email to D:

“I just wanted to email you and apologize for being a little snappish lately. I’m having a bit of a hard time adjusting to the idea of J going away to school AND you making all of these changes w/ the house, finishing school, etc. You guys growing up and all of these things happening at the same time all this year is making me very emotional and I’m trying to deal with it as best as I can but it’s hard…”

Things are balancing out now, and I’m not nearly as emotional (for the moment, anyway). This is all happening exactly as it’s supposed to, and I am starting to embrace it all. Cautiously.

Yesterday Jim and I drove up to the house in Wisconsin, delivering a huge, pre-owned television D and his roommates chipped in to buy from a friend. D was excited to show us the whole house but especially his new bedroom, which is bigger than his old dorm room and all his, and we planned to stick around for a while to hang some blinds and help him get things set up.

I had seen the outside of the house before, but never the inside. I braced myself, guessing that what I was about to see was going to be the “classic” college guy kind of place: the same house you see in college movies. And it was.

Though it’s not a fraternity house, all four boys are fraternity brothers and so there are items featuring their two Greek letters in just about every room. There are three couches (two of them sleeper sofas, even) in the living room, and the huge kitchen features a long table with lots of chairs and a long bench. (The previous tenants left almost all of the furniture in the house!) The ice maker in the freezer is broken but the lever you move to turn it off is missing so it still makes a horrible racket every now and then as it tries to draw water into the system. One of the bedrooms used to be the extra-large porch (the landlord walled it in), and there is wood paneling all over the place. Where there is paint, the walls are all dinged up and really, just a mess. The main bathroom–with its pink and baby blue tiles and ancient flooring–is pretty much what I expected. The basement is a little scary to me but has a tiny room off to the side that contains a poker table and two containers of chips. There’s a washer and a dryer down there, and–on the other end–more game tables and a bar. The house is old and outdated and worn and in need of some serious attention…and the perfect place for a bunch of twenty- to twenty-one-year-old guys to live while they finish up their time in college and get ready for the real world. THIS is the training ground for the real world.

That’s why, after seeing all of that, I was at peace. My kid’s excitement was contagious. I find myself amused by the house and totally stoked for my son, thrilled that he gets to live there. I know that this house is where he will learn so many lessons–including some that I know I won’t want to hear about so let’s not talk about those. He has even taken it upon himself to be the house representative to the landlord and will make sure the utility bills and rent get paid, (That kind of thing runs in the family…) meaning he will have some great experience in dealing with the kinds of things we adults do every day, and he gets to do it on training wheels, while Jim and I can still step in and provide assistance if he asks for it.

I don’t know…maybe we’re all growing up!

D's new room


  • Cy

    His room looks great! Our son was the bill payer last year in a cliche college apartment with 4 of his friends. The stress of that (initially, he was the only one with a checkbook & checking account! And these kids were sophomores!) drove him into a house with 4 different guys this year–one that he barely let us step foot in. His room is well appointed, but the rest is so dive-y and full of bongs, etc., that he was embarrassed to have us in there. The guys are complete pigs and I was thrilled that my kid was disgusted by that. Come August, he’s back in an apartment with one other guy, in a more controlled chaos situation. It IS a good learning experience for them!

    • Melisa Wells

      You just made me do two thing simultaneously: throw up in my mouth and sigh with relief. 🙂

    • Melisa Wells

      Full disclosure: I had just put his new bedding set on his bed. I MADE THE BED. haha!

  • Mom24_4evermom

    Rebekah moved into an apartment in May and will not be home this summer and it has knocked me a bit. I did not expect that. Good luck with the adjustment. I hope it continues to feel more comfortable.

    • Melisa Wells

      It’s weird, right? I have several mantras I keep repeating to myself to get through, the main one being “This is how it’s supposed to be.” Also, sigh.

  • Liz

    I cannot talk about this, right now. However, I am more than happy to cheer you on and maybe even get a few pointers on this whole growing up thing 🙂

  • Shannon

    His room looks great! I remember the house my brother lived in during college. It was so disgusting that,when I went to visit him, I would sleep in a friend’s dorm room. D’s room looks much better.
    Such a big summer for your family with the endings and the beginnings. I love hearing your perspective on it all.

  • Jennifer

    I love that his bed was made. Is that because you were coming up? Thrilled that he is embracing everything that you’ve taught him, and that you are doing ok!

  • Patty

    WOW! I just want to give you a hug. He looks pretty happy and you know he will be fine. He has excellent role models!