This post will go out a few days after we move our youngest to college.
Four hours away.Two Hundred and forty minutes. No more last minute shopping trips, lunches, hikes. No more late night gab sessions on her bed. No more impromptu belly laughing moments at goofy YouTube videos. I’m going to miss Kendra a lot.
People have said to me, “Oh, it will be easy this time. You have been through it three other times.” Well…because I’ve been through it three other times, I can say with certainty, “It won’t be easy. A big piece of my heart will stay behind in Grand Junction, Colorado.”
Each time a family member leaves, a hole is left. No one else can fill that special spot in the family. I love being a mom and my heart bursts with joy when all my kids are around. (Okay… there are those times my heart breaks from choices they have made but overall life is best …not perfect but best …when my family is together.)
Experience hasn’t harden my heart to good-by but it has taught me how to respond to this transition.
So since this is kid number four I’ll pass along what I have learned.
1. Don’t call everyday crying (Yep, I did that to kid number 1.)
2. Wait for your child to call first (experts always recommend this- I still haven’t been able to do it but I do resist the urge to phone daily. I shoot for 1-3 times a week.)
3. Ask about classes, homework, schedule, friends. Make a mental note to remember the details-like names of friends.
4. Visit on family weekend and not before. The child needs time to adjust.
5. Listen but try not to feed into or take on the negative attitudes or emotions about the school. Many kids think they should transfer before 1st semester is even done. Encourage your child to hang in there and stay the entire freshman year at the same place.
6. When your young adult returns home for vacations, there will be a readjustment. Remember, the college student has been making many decisions on his own and setting up his own schedule. Try to respect that. Also the student is reentering family life as he crosses the threshold. Consideration and respect for the family routine is important. Talk about specific expectations on both parts so the time at home is pleasant.
Once again I am going to attempt to focus on the upcoming and exciting things God has in store for my child. And when I feel very sorry for myself, I will praise God that he has blessed me with some great but not perfect kids.
© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.