Surviving the First Year

I can still hear his giggles. I can still hear his foot steps coming down the stairs. I can still hear him be-bopping through the house singing. But he's not here. He's 1200 miles away.

Last August our first born (Cade) left for college. Nobody prepared me for that. Shouldn't that be in the mom 101 manual?! Now that we are wrapping up year one though and getting ready to move him back to Texas from Boise, Idaho I thought I'd help out some of those other mamas that are getting ready to send their first born off.

Here are my most random thoughts about "our" first year of college and raising boys.

They will NOT come home as much as you might think.

Our son, Cade, didn't just leave for college. We packed him up and moved him 1200 miles from the Hall house. He wasn't going somewhere that he could just jump in the truck and be home within a few hours. Nope. He's a 23 hour car ride away. So when he left, we told him he had a plane ticket home any and every weekend he wanted. Anytime he needed a reset, a break from his homies, a snuggle from his cat or just a hug from mom his ticket was waiting. Welp. He only took us up on that offer a couple of times (outside of Thanksgiving and Christmas). Originally I thought I was going to be sad when he told me he DIDN'T want to come home or didn't NEED to come home. It was the opposite. As much as I want to wrap my arms around him and squeeze him until he pops, him NOT coming home means he's living his best life and finding his way on his own. And seriously, watching your first born enter the "grown up" world CONFIDENT in what they are doing, it gives you that warm, mom tingle of joy. So if your kid doesn't want to come home, it's ok. It just means their thriving.


From the very first week, we've had a schedule. Every Sunday and Wednesday. I knew. He knew. That's those facetime calls you wait for. You clear your schedule. You take away all distractions. Because for them, it's just calling mom. For us, the moms, it's the time we get to analyze it all. Is he chatty today? How's his body language? What's his skin look like? Is he getting enough sunshine? Is he eating enough? I told Cade from the beginning those calls were to always be facetime because I needed to see his face. Because that face can tell me everything.

They will do stupid shit. Let them.

Oh the shenanigans. There will be a lot of that. Let them. Thankfully my boys will literally talk to me about anything (I could write a blog just about that!) so I get to hear about all the random things that they are getting into. It's their first dose of "no parents" and they are going to test the water no matter what. So why not be the one they can share it with? I'd rather know what he's doing and who he's with because he told me than him keep it from me and me not really knowing what's going on his life. So here are a few of the things that boys do in college. (Remember, Cade is in Boise, Idaho)

  • Midnight or later trips to the caves
  • Running the campus in their underwear
  • Bets and dares. If you lose, you'll be in your undies in the river before you know it or chugging a beer in the shower.
  • 2am grocery trips

There are so many things that they do that will make you cringe. But it's ok. They are ok. You just have to remind them there are consequences to everything they do and to just remember that. Sometimes the reward is greater. My motto is don't add or take away from the population and be present in the moment.

You will cry. Randomly. And a lot.

It's ok. Embrace it. You have so many emotions running through you that you just need a good cry. I cry when I see him. I cry when he leaves after a visit. I cry when I hear a song that reminds me of him. I cry when he's the only one missing ata family get together. I cry because I miss his big hugs. Listen. You just cry. If you embrace it now, it will help it from being an ugly cry. 🤣

What's Next?

For us, our nest is emptying pretty quick. Boy #2 leaves for college this August. Once the nest is empty, Joel and I will be back to where it started. Just me and him. We've made sure that through the hustle and bustle of raising kids and living life that we keep each other's tanks full of love, encouragement and our own shenanigans. Because 23 years ago we were just two, young, dumb and broke married kids dreaming of what life would be like ... and man did we create a good one.

If you have survived sending your kid(s) to college, I'd love to hear your words of advice! Make sure to comment.

Much love, 



  • Lora Aileen

    My one and only child my daughter went to New York in 2021. She had an internship in Manhattan with Nicole Miller that transpired from college. She was close enough at college for me to visit all the parent stuff. I got to acclimate slowly. An internship So exciting! Until I woke to a call from Tasha that Sept morning. Thank God she was ok but she witnessed it all. She was at her sublet in Brooklyn & her job began at 11am each day so was still at home thankfully! It was hard letting her get on that plane in Seattle but she was pursuing her dream so I hugged her but pretty scared. She came back home soon after finishing training. I worked for Estee’Lauder so she decided to follow in my footsteps and is starting her own spa business now in Denver and has 2 kids!

  • Debra embden

    I love reading your blogs. Knowing you’re handling life’s events AND a big business gives us encouragement to keep on keeping on. Thanks so much for sharing. Would love to hear Renee’s take on describing her cute outfits along with Vanessa. I loved it when she and Beth colluded together.

  • Stacy Brisbee

    Enjoy the last few months! I have sent two off to the military. Hug them tight. You don’t know how much you will miss that, till you can’t, ( mine are on deployment). Keep busy best advice I have ever heard

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