I checked in on a friend today who took her son to his first year of college. She was doing ok, but was very emotional. She said he was very excited and she was excited for him, but asked how she could be so happy and so sad at the same time?
I told her that was the perfect explanation of motherhood. We prepare them for a world we don’t really want to send them in to. I assured her that he would miss her and that he’d be fine because she did a great job raising him. I ended by telling her to think of all the great advice she’d be able to give me in a few years when it was my turn. I hope it helped in some small way. This is one of those things you have to work through on your own and in your own time. I wrote a post yesterday…a letter to my daughter because I know I’ll be facing this in the not too distant future and it scares me.
They’re always our babies. We’re responsible for them from the minute we find out were pregnant until well, forever…maybe not in the same way as while we raised them, but you get what I’m trying to say if you’re a parent.
For the first five to six years of their lives we’re their primary influence. Once we send them off to school, each year after that they learn a little bit more from other people about the world. Teachers. Friends. Acquaintances. Their friend’s parents. Most of it is good. Some of it’s not. We do our best to instill good values and morals in them, teach them right from wrong, and hope they’ve listened so that they are able to make good choices as they grow older.
I imagine taking your child to college for the first time is one of the toughest moments you can experience as a parent. It’s part of the circle of life, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s what you’ve worked towards for eighteen years….raising them to be self sufficient, productive, and successful adults, but they’re still your baby in your eyes. Turning them loose in the world to make their own way? That has to be one of the hardest “letting go” experiences any person will ever have to face.
For all the parents out there facing this…you are in my prayers. It’s a tough time, but if it’s any consolation at all, they’re finally gonna “get” all the things you’ve taught them and they’re going to realize you knew a thing or two after all. The days of “you don’t know anything” are coming to an end…and even if they don’t say “I miss you” I guarantee you they do. I’m pretty sure you’re gonna hear a lot more of “I love you” as well.
For all the young adults leaving your parents for the first time…remember this. They love you and want what’s best for you. That’s why they were so hard on you and strict. It’s a parent’s job to make sure their child can succeed and make it on their own in the world. You’ll face the same thing one day.
Just a few more words…you’re always their baby and it’s hard to let you go. Pass out “I miss you” and I love you” any chance you get. And it wouldn’t hurt to throw in “you knew what you talking about after all” or “I understand now” once in awhile. It lets them know they did a good job raising you and you’re doing okay in this crazy ol’ world after all! Best wishes to you!