When Your Child Leaves for College

Just yesterday we got our second daughter settled into her dorm room at her chosen university. What a joy to see such an already accomplished young woman begin her transition into college life. Was it difficult as her mother to say goodbye to my precious baby girl? You betcha! But knowing she is just beginning her journey into a whole new world full of great new exciting experiences helped me get through it. Her joy kept me steady throughout the day, too.

Sending a child off to school for the first time is scary for both parent and child. It is important to remember that you aren’t losing your child, but instead you are helping them realize their dreams and aspirations. Sure the dynamics of your house will change. I’m down from four kids in the house to two, but when they all come home, it’s as if they never left. The love and laughter is there. The loudness is deafening but would we have it any other way? I think not!

Having two daughters who have gone through this experience of moving away to college I’ve learned a lot. Hopefully, my experiences will help others going through this. Just remember that each child is different and will experience it differently. That, I believe is key.

Having said that, I will tell you that even with my daughters’ roomates their experiences were different. One daughter was ready for us to leave once she was unpacked and we had gone out to eat. She also ended up wanting frequent visits from me. She wasn’t happy where she was and eventually changed majors and schools. The other daughter knew how she wanted everything to be, wanted to do it herself, but wasn’t in a hurry for us to leave. One roommate had parents that hovered, a lot. The other roommate had her parents leave and she took care of herself for her dinner on the first night. As I said, such individuality among the students.

For the students, let your mom hover a little bit. They need to feel useful because you are growing up and will be on your own for the first time. Mom wants to show you her love on move in day. Just this one last time. It’s important for her. 

Moms need to let their student set up the room as they want it. This is their space, not yours. They are needing their independence so let them assert it today. Don’t stand in their way. I had to learn this. I got it right with number 2. I am ever the work in progress.

No matter how prepared you think you are, Wal-Mart and Target are your friends. You will need a trip there for those things you didbt think of. Things like a scissors, ice cube trays, command strips, a broom or a clock to put on the wall. 

Go out to eat as a family when it is all done. Make it special. Yes, you’ve spent all this money on college and the supplies needed to get them there, but even if it is just McDonald’s or a pizza, spend that time together, exhausted as you will be. It is totally worth the effort. It is a memory you will treasure forever. That’s what family is all about.

So, this fall, as the kids go back to school, I have 2 daughters now in college, 1 son in high school and a son in 4th grade. Where does the time go? Out babies grow up and chase their dreams whether we want them to or not. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to let our babies soar to new heights, where other parents will keep their babies safely tucked under their wings because their babies won’t be able to fly like mine can. I consider myself blessed. Someday I will have an empty nest and will have to remind myself that that, too is a blessing. Until then though, I’ll continue to raise my little chicks and do my best to raise them the best I know how to. I will count my blessings to see my older chicks soar to new heights and look forward to all their new stories when they come home.  T