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On Friday afternoon my living room looked like this:

That would be my kid who is home from college. And not just temporarily this time. You see, she has transferred to the university in the next town over from us . . . and she doesn’t want to live on campus . . . so she’ll be living at home for the foreseeable future.

I’ll just give you a moment to let that sink in.

There are many reasons why this transfer is the right thing for Hannah. First and foremost, the school she was attending didn’t offer the program she wanted to study. Let me explain –  while she still wants to be a teacher (that hasn’t changed since she was 5 years old), she has decided that she wants to be a special needs teacher who works with children with several physical disabilities. This decision did not come as a surprise to me since she has spent the last two summers working as a teacher’s aide at a school that provides specialized programs for kids with all kinds of physical and medical problems and she has loved it. By making this decision she really then had no choice other than to change schools and it just so happens that one of the best schools in the state for this course of study is the one that’s only 10 minutes up the road.

The second reason, and the one that’s at least equally as important to Hannah, is that she just wasn’t happy at school. She hated living in the dorm, she constantly complained about the food in the cafeteria, and (according to her anyway) she just didn’t fit in. So she asked if she could live at home and commute to school and we said  . . . yes.

It will be a big adjustment for all of us – Dale and I have really enjoyed the freedom of being empty nesters and Hannah has equally enjoyed the freedom of coming and going as she pleased. But I’m proud of her for knowing what she wants and recognizing the best way to get there. It will be cheaper and more practical and I’m keeping an open mind and thinking that we can make it work.

Of course, the irony of how I felt in those first weeks when she left two years ago as compared to now isn’t lost on me.

Life sure is funny that way.


This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. Funny how we adjust to being empty nesters 🙂 It does sound like a good decisions. As a retired teacher I applaud her choice of careers!

  2. I’ll miss the glimpses of her around campus…but she sure is right about the food!! Sounds like a wise and mature decision!

  3. Good decisions but it’ll mean a few adjustments for all of you… Here’s wishing everything goes smoothly!

  4. With the advent of my daughter moving out of state a dozen weeks from now, I’m green with envy. After some negotiations, this will be a wonderful new adventure for you both. Hannah has to be an incredibly special individual to work in the specific field she has chosen.

  5. Hannah’s old enough to know her mind and to make her own path. She may be near, but she has a good head and just needs everyone to let her go and grow. Your challenge will be to keep your love from turning into control. She’ll let you know when (or if) she needs your help. Go Hannah!

  6. You will adjust in a short time. I applaud her for making that decision now and continuing down the path she has chosen. There are so many kids who don’t know what they want to do after graduation and she has a plan. Three cheers for Hannah!
    Is she going to BWS?

  7. Yes, there’ll be an adjustment period, but I expect you all will handle it fine…and congrats on Hannah knowing herself well enough to make these decisions!

  8. Congrats on the new changes for Hannah! Yup it is an adjustment to having kids home from college esp when they move back in to live. At least you don’t have that long ride out to WS and back anymore. Best wishes for a smooth transition for you all.

  9. Good for Hannah! What a wonderful thing . . . to be able to recognize and navigate your own path through life! It will certainly be a new challenge for all of you, but I’m kind of betting you’ll all meet it in grand style! (Now. . . whenever I think of Hannah, I think of “Fox on the Run!”) Nothing like strong, capable daughters!!!! 🙂

  10. I’ve lived with my adult child/ren in many different configurations over the years (I’ve had adult children for way more years than I like to think about) and find that it’s the transition time that’s most difficult. I’m excited for Hannah and her new course — that’s a special calling.

  11. I know that you will all adjust and make it work well for everyone. Welcome ~HOME~ Hannah!!

  12. Agreed–as someone with a very refeathered nest, it’s a different kind of living at home. Once the bumps are worked out (and you resist falling into old patterns) it’s pretty nice most of the time.

  13. I lived at home my last two years of college and commuted. I was paying for school myself and just couldn’t swing an apt. and tuition. Mom and Dad said, “Look we have to pay the mortgage on your bedroom whether you’re in it or not…” It took a period of adjustment, but it actually worked well for all of us. Mom was working and got free live-in help with laundry and dishes. And we got to form an adult relationship that allowed us to add ‘friends’ to the existing relationships we already had. Feel free to contact me if you think I can be of help/insight as the process goes on. I think you’ll all treasure this time more than you can imagine.

  14. Glad to see Hannah still has that dazzling smile…Does this mean she gets a car? My daughter wants a motor scooter; I’ve offered her my 10 speed bike, but she doesn’t want to pedal up the hill in Providence. We’re obviously not on the same page with this one. Next week we bring her home for the summer. That’s a big energy shift for us, too, but I’m looking forward to having her around (I think).

  15. “Life sure is funny that way”. It sure is! It seems like just yesterday you were posting bout her leaving for school. How time can fly by! I wish her the best of luck at BSU and wish you all luck on the adjustment : )

  16. Hannah looks so happy! At least she tried dorm living – it’s not for everyone. My daughter has no desire to go away to college. She is going into nursing and wants to stay local (she is actually afraid the freedom will get her into trouble!). That is a great field she is going into. Best of luck to Hannah on her new adventure (and patience to mom and dad in the big adjustment).

  17. I think you will enjoy having her home. It took me awhile to adjust to Evan being home. but he is good company. He just has soo much stuff! we don’t know where to put it!

  18. Absolutely none of us would have brought up that irony. All things change, you get used to it, and even if it was the way before, it is still change, and that is HARD.

    I’m also sure you will have no problem making Rules.

  19. Welcome back to Hannah. It sounds like a smart decision all around. And you can come hang out in our empty nest this summer!

  20. Welcome home Hannah, those are lucky children at that camp I’m certain! Here’s to change and all those sayings about it!

  21. It’s an interesting dynamic, but I’m guessing that all of you are the kind of people who will make good decisions and enjoy all that is positive in the change. Best to all!

  22. Hooray! I can’t imagine my son leaving to go to college, I’m hoping he’ll go to the liberal arts school 30 miles away and still live at home! Then again, I’m not sure you can get a job with a degree from a liberal arts school so we may have to rethink that…

  23. This IS big Mother’s Day news. Both of ours moved back home, although after college. The only bad part, really, was that they had acquired so much more STUFF that had to be accommodated somehow. The good part was that they were so much more mature, I didn’t have to exert discipline much – although I did draw the line about leaving dirty socks on the floor or staying out very, very late! It was fun having them and their friends back in the house.

  24. changes indeed! …and wonderful that they seem to be all for the better. good luck with the adjusting!

  25. different paths, same destination. AL never went to school away. She always wanted to live at home. It made me nervous to have her be so different from EVERYBODY else in this competitive town. Now years later she has succeeded so beautifully as a nurse, in her own way in her own right. IM so sure Hannah and you all will treasure these years

  26. Yeah for Hannah! I’m sure you will all adjust and everything will be fine. It’s great that she knows what she wants and is on the right path to get it.

  27. At least she is moving home because she has a goal and a dream that are easier to achieve that way. I have plenty of friends who live with their parents because they either do not have the drive to find better jobs or do not want to give up the extra money they can keep without a normal rent situation.

  28. Bless you and Dale for supporting Hanna’s choice. If she has a career choice that her former college didn’t offer it would make sense that she didn’t feel she fit in. My college-age daughter’s friends are the kids that are in similar majors and in the same classes.
    My living room looked like your photo last week too as my DD moved home for the summer! Major laundry to do!
    Once at the new college Hanna may connect with some other students and you may find that you are moving her to campus for her senior year!
    And my daughter complained about the cafeteria food too. Next year she is still on campus for her housing but will have more of an apartment style room with a kitchenette. She plans on doing her own meal preparation. We will see how that goes– I think it might be a case of ‘the grass is greener somewhere else’. After meal planning, kitchen clean up, using a city bus to get to a grocery store and schlepping the groceries back to her room she might start to think cafeteria food isn’t so bad…. But she has to adjust to making her own food someday….

  29. My oldest moved back home from out of state last January and it has been an adjustment to no longer be empty nesters. We had to do some compromising and figure out how to live together as adults. He is engaged now and will hopefully be moving out in six or eight months, and we can go back to our quiet house. Like others have said, it is the adjustment phase that is hard. Then things seem to go more smoothly.

  30. My little cousin went to that college & now works with the blind/deaf/disabled. She had a great experience & has had a terrific start to her career.

  31. You may not know this, but my daughter came home from college for many of the same reasons! She didn’t like dorm life and wasn’t sure her chosen major was the right one. She’s attending a (great) local university, exploring her options, and is so much happier! And we very much enjoy having her back “in the nest.” It’s not what we’d planned but it’s working for now, and I’m just grateful for how it’s worked out. Good luck to all of you!

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