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Table for Two

I don’t intend to turn my blog into a “my kid left for college and this is how I’m adjusting” thing but I imagine you probably want to know how things are going. Let me tell you first of all that Hannah is doing great. She is making friends and settling in and learning her way around campus. She has texted and called regularly and knowing that she is happy has made this much easier for me. I miss her but I know she’s growing and changing and learning and that’s what is important.

And so . . .

Table for Two blog size

Monday night I set the table for two. I have done this many times before as Hannah has a pretty active social life and is often not home for dinner. And yet, this time, it felt different. It felt weird. It felt small and sort of pathetic. Family dinners have been such an important part of our lifestyle and suddenly my family (at least the one that I prepare meals for) is only made up of one other person. No more big casseroles and roasts for us, now it’s small portions and half servings and I don’t know what I’m going to do with all those huge bags of spaghetti sauce in the freezer.

So I lit a candle to make it feel special and I reminded myself that I’d be saving money on grocery bills. I thought about how I can cook things like pork chops without having to endure the complaints. We can go out if we want and we can skip dinner altogether if we want and we can even have ice cream for dinner if we want.

Maybe it’s not all bad, this smaller family thing.

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. It does take some getting used to. We are now down to three from five and DS#2 has been eating earlier than us so our table looks rather like yours. So glad Hannah is settling in so well. I had no doubt she would. Pretty plates btw.

  2. Very pretty place setting. Yes, cooking and eating for two takes some adjustment. I always felt my younger daughter’s busy schedule in H.S. braced us for when she flew the nest for college. However, she loved it when I had dinner put aside for her.
    Save the spaghetti sauce for those times Hannah comes home on break! Does she have a microwave and mini fridge in her room? When you go to visit bring a portion of the home cooked meal with you. Funny how they love just a taste of home.

  3. You set a lovely table. Not really the same thing at all, but I was amazed at how much money I saved on groceries when the big kids were away this summer. I hadn’t really computed how much those two eat.

  4. My parents started having kids at 18, and just sent their youngest to college last year, when they were 51. The whole dinner thing was a big adjustment for them too… family dinners stacked with kids (there were 4 of us) for over 30 years, shopping at Sam’s club to stock enough for ravenous teenage boys, those days are over. But then they tasted the freedom of going out on a whim, picking up something light on the way home, shopping at Trader Joe’s instead of in bulk… and they are loving it. Really, their social life these days puts mine to shame. I’m kinda jealous 😉

  5. It does take a bit of adjusting. Even if she was out she was coming home later so there is that reality. A friend of mine had a hard time getting out of the habit of buying so much milk. I’m glad she is keeping in touch. That does make it easier. Mine didn’t always do that and I felt like the crazy mom always calling, always emailing. Now that mine is 24, she keeps in contact more. And I know that right now her life is good. In the last two year’s I’ve learned to take some more time for myself to fill the gap. Exercise classes and attending the local junior hockey games weekly.

  6. So glad that Hannah is doing well and keeping in touch! Maybe this is the time to cook some gourmet dishes you’ve been meaning to try. I agree with Geri – you can use the spaghetti sauce when Hannah comes home. She may even bring friends and you can use up two bags! 🙂

  7. It must be fun to get happy messages from Hannah and it’s great she’s staying in touch. Lighting a candle is a great way to start the romance, eh?

  8. Each stage of life brings new joys and challenges. We have always been a family of two. I was about to offer up some of the pluses, but I see in that last paragraph you’ve already been discovering them. Enjoy your new lifestyle, and enjoy Hannah when she is home.

  9. I SO get how it feels different even though our kids have busy lives. For us we have gone from having 7 people at our table down to just 3 and a good number of nights it’s only Ken and I and it does feel different.

    The upside………I never had a dishwasher when they were growing up, so long days were spent behind the sink…not now thankfully…. and the food bill has shrunk considerably, but every now and then I do miss those crazy days.

    How wonderful that Hannah is settling in and enjoying college life!

  10. So glad to hear that she’s doing well. With a smile like that, I’m not surprised. Personally, I’ve got plans to throwing more dinner parties once mine is launched. Are you going to be sending Hannah care packages of baked goods?

  11. “Small and sort of pathetic” – yup, it does feel that way. We went from 5 to 2, from eating to washing up, plonking ourselves in our chairs and thinking “This is kind of boring.” But they come home all the time, and then things get lively again. Glad to hear that Hannah is settling in happily.

  12. Well, the table looks real pretty! You are all settling into the new phase of life. When Hannah comes home for a visit you will be thrilled to have her around, but after a few days you might actually miss the “quiet” that you and Dale will be accustomed to!

    I’m glad she’s keeping in touch and doing well.

  13. Spaghetti sauce in the freezer is for when she comes home on Christmas break, looking for tastes of home. It will give you more time to spend with her.

    And, of course, there will still be pot-lucks that call for larger dishes.

  14. You set a very lovely table. Adjustment takes time and it’s good to hear that you’re doing well with it. I’m sure that you and Dale will find lots of new ways to enjoy your new family configuration.

  15. It does take some getting used to, but I sure love (and savor and don’t take for granted) when the whole family gathers ’round these days — special times.

  16. Of course, she’s doing well. She’s Hannah!

    I’m so sorry this is such a hard change for you, sweetie. Try to think about how you are now alone with your husband and enjoy that time together. Maybe it’s time to try new recipes that Miss Hannah might not have liked or might have been too spendy when it was a meal for at least three.

    Keep making the roasts and such. Just put leftovers in the freezer. Having a freezer full of options is a wonderful thing.

  17. Not pathetic – just the stage you’re in. Just wait til her first weekend home when she wants all her old favorites!

  18. Pretty table and I’m glad Hannah’s doing well. The hardest part for me was trying to scale down how much I cook – soup *still* tends to expand to fill whatever pot I’m using, but it’s nice to have a selection in the freezer ;o)

  19. Glad she’s thriving. I haven’t worked outside the home since DD was born so I know I’ll be echoing you next year. Thank you for posting about the separation — it’s helping me brace myself and I’m spending extra time with her while she’s still nearby… Bittersweet to see them growing up!

  20. Glad Hannah is doing well! Your family hasn’t grown smaller…it’s just spread out a little more. You can freeze all your extras. Oh, and lovely place setting. I’ve been considering square plates for a while now.

  21. Good for you, Mom! Your girl is adjusting and feeling comfortable right off! You’ve done your job well. Hang in there. You’ll find your new rhythm soon. Your table looks lovely, by the way.

  22. meals really are the hardest time for me too – growing up in a large family made it great to have meals together – and I learned that eating meant social time… so somehow, table for one is not appealing at all. sigh. And thus, I do what you do, put candles and flowers on the table, and grab a great book or my Iphone scrabble games to make it better.

  23. I’m in the same boat. My college freshman was dropped off this past Tuesday. I’ve found myself hesitating to put away her water glass, her shoes by the front door (the signs that she’s around). DH and I have gone to restaurants each night since because I have no idea what to cook for dinner! I think I need a cooking for two cookbook.
    I’m so glad Hannah is doing well. Mine starts class this Tuesday so she’s been experience Welcome Week for Freshman and doing A LOT of socializing. Now I’m starting to worry that after such a big taste of fun with no homework she’s going to find it hard to buckle down and go to classes/do homework/get enough sleep.

  24. I’m not sure it’s been mentioned, but what you’re going to save in groceries you’ll appreciate…since college ain’t cheap.
    Still…you’re doing great on the adjustments! And I’m so happy Hannah’s doing well, too…

  25. Well, I’m a little behind…but glad to see you’re slowly adjusting! My first has been out of the house two years now and it does get easier, though I still miss him! I do dread next year when my DD leaves home–I think it might be harder to say good-bye to the second one. All my friends agree that it’s fun to be just a twosome again, so I hope that’s true!

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