What No One Tells You About The Sophomore Send-Off

by Laura Hanby Hudgens
Originally Published: 

What no one tells you about the sophomore send-off is that it is nearly as difficult as the freshman drop-off—maybe even a little worse. What no one tells you is that this child–your child, whom you tearfully left at college last spring–will come home a man. A man who needs you even less than he did a year ago.

No one tells you, and certainly not your son, that he was a little bummed to be coming home for the summer. That he was not totally looking forward to sharing space with his siblings again and following your rules. That he will miss being on his own. That this town doesn’t really feel like home anymore.

What no one tells you is that, even though he needs you less, you will still spend your summer cooking and cleaning and doing his laundry. But that part of you won’t even mind because it means that your darling boy has come home.

No one tells you that this nearly grown man will take up your entire couch for the first several days of his homecoming—exhausted from finals and packing and parties—and that you will walk by and, just for a minute, stop and watch him sleep (like you did when he was little), and you will wonder how it all went by so fast.

No one tells you that this nearly grown man will still fight with his little brother and that the two of you will still argue about things like curfews and wet towels on the floor and drinking the last of the milk and all the stuff you were arguing about when he was 15.

What no one tells you, and you can barely admit it yourself, is that you will be a little bit relieved when he goes back to school in August—just a little.

No one tells you that when you will see other people’s photos on Facebook, dropping off their freshmen and smiling through their tears, you will be filled with relief that you don’t have to do that again this year, but you will be just a tiny bit sad too. That was a big day—another milestone that has come and gone.

No one tells you that when it’s time to go, your son will casually wave goodbye as he pulls out of the driveway. No big deal. He’s got this. And your heart will simultaneously soar with pride and break with sorrow.

No one tells you that everything you wanted for your child—new friends, new experiences, independence and maturity—are the very things that will take him away from you, that have taken him away from you already.

No one tells you, but deep down you know, that he will come home less often during his sophomore year, that he will grow up even more. Next summer or the summer after that, there will be an internship or a study abroad program or summer school.

No one tells you, but you know even so: you might have just spent your last summer with your boy.

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