Calling All Parents With College Kids

For us, summer really is over.

Because someone here in Georgia decided school should start on August 9th. What the heck? That’s way too early!

Scary Baby has completed her first week of middle school with flying colors. Oops, no first day of school picture because that’s what happens when you are the 4th and lastborn.

While I was away for a long weekend immediately after our beach trip, the darling twins not only got Scary Baby ready for her first day of middle school, they also got themselves ready.

EARLY.

Please understand these darling twins NEVER get ready for anything EARLY.

But when I got home, they proudly shared with me their stacks and piles of things ready to go back to college.

Small stacks…remember they are cadets at a military college and are allowed to have very little in their dorm rooms!

Are those cleaning supplies?

GASP

Yes, I’m well aware this means they are more than ready to LEAVE again. I could say this with a lump in my throat. And sometimes I do get choked up.

It seems like they just got home.

The darling twins’ summer was abbreviated since they didn’t get home from Arizona until June 25th. And now they are gone again as they headed back to college this past Sunday.

Mostly, I’m proud they want to leave.

Because it means I’ve done something right in the motherhood category.

Dear fellow moms (and dads),

They are supposed to want to leave. They are supposed to want to be independent. They are supposed to want to show you that you spent 18 years raising them up right so they can survive on their own.

You are supposed to be happy for them. Your job was to prepare them for this. Your job is to celebrate the leaving.

But I won’t lie – in so many ways, the years do fly by. And you find yourself second-guessing yourself. Did you teach them the right things?

I was reminded by a good friend whose son left yesterday that if other parents would have been more encouraging and in her words that it would have been helpful if…

“…people would say something like…”he is going to have a great time” or “this is so exciting” instead of looking at me, asking how I’m going to do “letting go of my first one” and then almost watching if I’m going to burst into tears!!”

Are you reaching out and helping other moms as their children leave? Reminding a mom that her child will be fine and she did a good job is exactly what she needs to hear at a time like this.

This parenting gig is still so tough. Let’s lift each other up!

The Leaving and Letting Go

I think this would be a great place to share any tips or hindsight you have if you have sent or are about to send a child to college.

  • What did you do right?
  • What do you wish you would have done differently?
  • How were the first few weeks after they left home?
  • How was the first semester transition for you and them?
  • What was the best tip another mom gave you?

Share your best tips or lessons learned because I promise you it will help another mom who is facing those same feelings and reading this today.

*******

P.S. I got this text from Roger Leroy tonight just as I was finishing this post:

RL: Having my own room is awesome.

Me: Oh yes it is. I remember it well!! And like u, I had never had my own room…always had to share with my sister Julie.

RL: It’s kinda like living in a little apartment…

There are so many fun things about college and leaving home!

🙂

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One year ago..

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Comments

  1. 1
    Gayle says:

    What I did right….taught them how to be self-sufficient (wash dishes, clothes, clean house, etc.)

    What I wish I had done differently…done more of those things above so they might have needed me more! haha

    The first few weeks after she left home…were not much different than when she lived at home – cause she was never there either!

    The best tip another Mom gave me…get on Facebook so I could keep track of her without being to overbearing. Oh! A new status. Guess she’s still alive! That’s good.

    • 1.1
      Melinda says:

      Yeah, Gayle! Facebook and Skype are wonderful ways of “keeping in touch”. (did you hear that, Sherra?)
      I know you have a blog but do your kids???
      It has to be great that RL and Wizzy are together so at least when you don’t hear from one, you hear from the other and texting is great as well but just can’t usually put as much in the message.

  2. 2
    Ann says:

    My oldest, a daughter, was very well prepared to go off to college. The one who wasn’t prepared was ME!!! Although we talked on the phone at least every other day, I still struggled with missing her being home on a day to day basis. All of her high school activities did help me in that she was gone A LOT but at least she was at our home, in her bed at night. Perhaps if I had discovered the joys of Skype sooner, that might have helped.

    My second child, a son, graduated from high school and a month later left for Army Basic Training. Is there anything that can prepare one for Basic??? lol He was a bit ahead of the curve, though, since he’d seen his dad in the Army since he was born. Being told what would happen, though, was nothing like experiencing the real deal!! He has since graduated from Basic and AIT as a Military Police/Soldier and is pumped up about starting at the local community college. Did I prepare him for that? No…but the Army did!!!
    Ann recently posted..Calling All Parents With College Kids

  3. 3
    nancy says:

    My college experiences with my two sons were exact opposite. My middle son, who “went away” before his older brother, was apprehensive that he was going to be three hours away to start off. When we moved him in it was great fun. Multiple and costly trips to Target and Costco, etc. The best part was how he immediately stood on his bed to decorate his side of the room. Posters, etc. Then we put all his bedding together, matching pillows, the works. He loved it all (other moms were scratching their heads). The kid in the bed across the room from him didn’t even come with sheets (nor did I ever see a parent). ????
    The following year our oldest child went away. 4 hours south. He was excited, but was more excited that one of his friends was coming for a visit the same day he was moving in (this was a friend from our same town). He was never anywhere to be found on move in day. We moved him in, and left. Maybe it was for the best, but for me, very disappointing. But different they are. Son #2 sent texts throughout the day while we were returning home. Son #1, hmmmmm….didn’t hear from him for days, until something went wrong.
    What would I do differently? I would not commit to any particular $ amount that I was going to contribute on a regular basis. Also, in one particular case….I would not have sent the child to school with a car. A NEW car! Okay, I have a headache now and need to go to bed. The up side of this story…they both graduated this year. One gainfully employed. I won’t tell you which one! 🙂 Good luck!

    • 3.1
      Melinda says:

      What WERE you thinking, Nancy? WHY would you send any kid off with a new car, no matter how much you love’em! My friends thought I was crazy just because both of mine got cars and they were used/pre-owned! I did like them having a vehicle since they went to different colleges. That way both of them could come home when they needed to. One came home way too often (every weekend!!) but now she’s moved back home so at least I’ll be saving $$ on her room/board this year. PTL!

  4. 4
    Karen says:

    Well said as always Sherra! For other readers,I’m the friend mentioned above who is facing this all for the first time. I am starting to realize that I was not very empathetic to other friends who have gone through this before me. I had no idea how hard it was going to be to say goodbye! I rec’d many encouraging notes yesterday from other moms who had gone through the same thing with the same sentiments. Today was better and every day after will get better. We will miss him. Letting go is hard. It’s another stage of life and one I must learn to embrace like all the other stages we go through with kids.
    Karen recently posted..Silpada Jewelry Giveaway

  5. 5
    julieann says:

    What I wish I had done differently…hmmm. Hindsight is supposed to be 20/20. My answer will probably alert the “parental police” and will most likely not be seconded by anyone else (I am used to standing alone since I am one of the few sane people in the state of CA). I would have kept control a bit longer. Let me explain what I mean by that. We moved out-of-state just before my oldest child’s senior year. It was extremely difficult for her and she dropped all of her activities, but she kept her grades up and worked 20+ hours a week. She wanted to head back to her old stomping grounds, but chose a school in an urban area that wasn’t entirely safe nor was it the “traditional college experience.” I felt sorry for her senior year loss and sided with her and she got her wish, but after a year she realized her mistake. She was tired of pan-handlers and druggies, a campus that closed on weekends and a family 3000 miles away. BUT to transfer at the point would slow her progress and she is a first-born. She has decided to stick it out and graduate in four years, selecting grad school more carefully. I knew that she was not making the best choice, but I allowed her to make it. Many of the parenting experts will tell you to do that. Sure, let them do that when it comes to choosing a sandwich. DON’T give them carte blanche when it comes to college. NO ONE loves them as much as you do and no one will watch over them like you would. You’ve been through it. Make the best choice of college for them no matter how much they hate you and scream. They are still “baby adults” at best. They will have the rest of their lives to make their own choices.

  6. 6

    I have sent three children off to college and in addition to that I sent two of those children to another part of the world for two years and I could only talk to them twice a year on the phone! (We did have a weekly email) So I guess I know a little bit about sending kids off into the real world. It’s hard and I have shed my share of tears but I also know there is nothing else I would rather have them doing. I also have learned that some kids are easier to send off than others 🙂 But I think my big piece of advice would be more for when they return home for a visit. And if you are lucky it will only be for a visit (summers, holidays etc.) When then come home be prepared for that “re-entry” Be patient. Do not expect things to be the same as when they lived at home full time. They are use to being independent adults and when they come home and have to reconfigure themselves into the family unit it can be hard. It takes a little time for them to re-establish themselves and figure it out, especially when there is more than one of them returning at the same time.
    Leigh Anne@Your Homebased Mom recently posted..ParisVersailles

  7. 7
    Steff says:

    My daughter just started her jr year at a college that’s over 700 miles away. We miss her, but the hardest part is saying goodbye! Even when she comes home for holidays or we go visit her, it NEVER gets easier! But, I have my normal cry and then tell myself over and over how very happy she is. Because of that, I can’t stay sad! And, with cell phones, texting, and FB, sometimes it’s almost like she’s not even gone! 🙂 The BEST thing we did was rent a storage unit with 3 of her other friends so that they could store their stuff over the summer and not have to bring it all back and forth!

  8. 8
    Melinda says:

    My twin daughters left last fall at the same time as Sherra’s daughters to begin their college experience. What would I do differently? Hmm…. nothing I’m thinking. I taught them both how to do laundry, one of the girls still prefers to bring hers home when she can to have it done by someone else (NOT necessarily mom since her sister does a lot of the laundry at home.) They are completely different personalities as all kids are. One has relished leaving home and went back to her college of choice, 3 hours away, even though her dad told her she could transfer. The one closest to home, in Athens attending Piedmont, considered staying at Piedmont because of the loss of credits in transferring but I made the adult decision that the travel expense wasn’t worth the freshman credits! She is now enrolled at GA Gwinnett and just left this morning for her first day.
    My best tip would be to encourage ALL moms to find a prayer partner. I had several in a group called Moms In Touch and it REALLY helped. These ladies have been praying for my kids for the past 12 years almost and it’s made a huge difference for them and ME!

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