As I have scrolled through FaceBook and Instagram over the last couple of weeks, the theme among many of my friends’ posts is college, specifically sending their children off to college. For some, it’s the first time. For others, it’s either the first time with the next child or a new year for kids who have already been away.
My children have all taken different routes into adulthood. Each path suits each child in this stage of life. No matter the direction they took, letting go (well I at least loosened up the grip 😉 ) was always so hard, yet also a sweet blessing. It’s like two sides of the same coin. On one hand, I was thrilled that they were ready to do what I had always prayed for God to allow them to do…live happy, independent lives. On the other hand, ummm I’m their Momma! I want them right here with me! Independent schmindependent!
I remember clearly the day we packed Brooke up and took her to college. (She is our oldest and our only daughter.) All six of us went to move her into her dorm (which was more like an apartment). I’m sure it was quite a sight with all of us parading through with boxes and totes and bags full of everything she could possibly need without us nearby.
As I looked back at something I wrote about that day, this line stood out to me:
It was a day full of a wide spectrum of emotions for everyone in our family. Most of all though, it was a day ordained by God in Brooke’s life for her to transition into this new phase of her life.Me, August 2010
If I could give parents in this phase some reminders, they’d be…
- Remember, this is what you’ve prayed for and prepared for since your child was born! (If you are like me, you’ll have to remind yourself of this often. Nine years after that day, I still have to remind myself of this concerning all four of our children.)
- Soak in the moments of the day/days of this transition. Sure take pictures! But most of all just store the snapshots of the day in your heart.
- Help your child with what they need help with, but remember they’re going to have to do most things on their own.
- Remind them who they are and whose they are!
- Try to have fun and save the tears for when you are home. I’m not saying don’t let them see you cry, but you don’t want them to start this new part of life focused on trying to comfort you.
- Laugh with them! Maybe even play some practical jokes on them. Pack some surprises in with their necessities!
- When it’s time to leave, pray with them! Hug them! Kiss them! And head home knowing you have prepared them the best you could and God has them in the palm of His hand.
If I could give the new college students some reminders, they’d be…
- Remember who you are and whose you are!
- This is a biggie…CALL YOUR MOMMA and DADDY! They need it! They need to hear your stories. They want to share your excitement! They’ll probably try to not text or call you too much since you’re discovering new freedom and independence, so YOU do the calling and texting for a bit!
- When you’re able to come home, remember to leave a little time for your parents to spend time with you. They don’t expect you to spend all your “at home” time with them, but they will sure cherish the times they do get to have you home.
As parents of now adult children, we’ve sent two away to college, experienced all four getting married within nine months of each other, moved all four out of our house at least once some more than once, helped one move hours and hours away from us, helped all of them move to new apartments, and helped one move into their first owned home. Each transition has its own joys and challenges. Each comes at different stages of our relationship with them. And all are part of their story God wrote before time began.
If you are one of those mothers (or fathers) that is in this stage right now, I’m praying for you! Savor the moments! Need to talk? Call me! We’ll get coffee!