College bound

Parents say goodbye, get used to life without children at home

Christina M. Currie

Zach Vorhies wasn’t gone two days before he left a message on his dad’s cell phone.

“Dad, don’t ever turn off your cell phone,” he recorded.

His mother said she isn’t feeling empty-nest syndrome after Zach left for college Wednesday, but his message indicated that he already might have been missing his parents.

Zach is one of more than 100 Moffat County High School graduates leaving this week to begin life as college freshmen.

For some parents, the transition from a house full of children and a constantly ringing phone to peace and cleanliness is difficult. To others, it’s an exciting step for their children and themselves.

“I don’t feel that sad, empty feeling,” Cindy Vorhies said. “I’m feeling really good. He has made the decision to go to college, and he’s at a point where he’s ready.”

Adding to Vorhies’ feelings of security is that Zach chose to go to school at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely.

“He won’t be too far away,” she said. “You hope and pray they make it through high school, and when they get to the next challenge, they’re ready. It’s easier when you know your kids are ready for it.”

Losing a child to college isn’t new to Cindy. Her daughter is starting her third year at Colorado State University, so the family has dealt with the packing up and moving away before.

“They kind of get you ready for it in high school with their social lives,” Cindy said. “They’re coming and going so much, the house already feels empty.”

Her children left in different ways. Her daughter, Nicole, gutted her room, taking everything she could. Zach took only what he thought he needed.

A cell phone with his parents on speed dial is the one thing Cindy said her son took with him that has sentimental value.

Although the silence of the phone has been pleasant, Cindy is most excited about having weekends free.

“The weekends aren’t all predetermined with sporting events anymore,” she said. “We get to reconnect as a couple again.”

Janiene Rader didn’t have to prepare herself for her son’s absence. He did it for her. Kyle and his sister, Meagan, spent the summer in Gillette, Wyo., with their father.

“When graduation day hit and they left for Wyoming, that was sad,” Janiene Rader said. “It’s tough. You think you’re prepared, then graduation day hits.”

She already is filling her days with projects that went undone while she was busy with children — cleaning the basement, organizing the house and picking up hobbies.

She has talked to Kyle about the need to take college seriously and how to avoid the financial pitfalls that many new students face.

She is confident he’ll make good decisions, and that makes the transition that much easier, she said.

“It’s exciting to see him go off and start a new phase of his life,” she said. “You always worry, though, and hope they make the best choices.”

Janiene said college life today is different from when she was in college. Between a cellular phone and the Internet, there are quick and easy ways to stay in touch.

“Anytime he’s bummed out, he can just pick up his cell phone and call,” she said.

Although it’s missing a few familiar items, Kyle’s room at home will b his for a few years.

“That’s the security,” Janiene said, “that they still have a place to come home to for a while.”

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or at

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