Every school day, I have watched my children head into school.
Whether it was dropping them off at the front door, or watching them from the front porch as they drove away in their vehicles, I have never missed seeing Grant and Connor leave for school.
College was no exception.
One Week Ago
Last Tuesday, we moved our oldest son into his college dorm room. I foolishly thought I would be able to hold it together; after all, we spent additional time together during the quarantine and another 16 hours together in the two-day drive down to Waco. I knew that I would cry, but I had no idea how much.
As we pulled up to the dorm, students were there to help unload and carry all the dorm necessities up for us. Despite what Grant thought, it wasn’t that much! As we made our way up to his room, my emotions were running high, but no tears.
Still, no tears as we unpacked and set up his room, or when we walked across campus to the bookstore, or when we ate lunch. As time was getting closer to us leaving, I was still doing ok.
As Craig parked the car, he started to pray, and his tears came, and then it was on. There would be no more holding back the tears for me.
It was time to let my first-born son go, and I sobbed.
Don’t Let Your Student See You Cry!
Every August leading up to the beginning classes, numerous parenting websites start giving tips and techniques on sending your child off to college. From the packing lists, to the to-do lists, to the not-to-do lists, the internet is saturated with articles. This can either be helpful or completely overwhelming. I was in the helpful camp until I came across this tip.
Don’t cry in front of your child. Wait until you get to the car.
I’m sorry, what?
It’s ok that your children, especially your college-age children, see you cry. Mixed in with tears of joy – “We did it! We raised this child to the best of our ability, and we did it without going to completely insane!” are tears of sorrow and grief – “Where has the time gone? Our family dynamics are changing, and our family won’t be the same!” Let the emotions flow!
Moms, if you have dropped your son or daughter off at college, you have every right to cry! Do not listen to the so-called “parenting experts.” Cry to your heart’s content, and when you get home, cry some more when you sit on the bed in their empty room while looking around at the mess they left. Yes, I did this, and I am not ashamed to admit it!
One Last Walk
As I gave Grant one last hug, he left my embrace and turned to walk the courtyard to his residence hall. From the first day of Kindergarten to driving away on his last day of high school (which was in March!), I watched him either walk through the doors or drive off to school. I prayed over him, and I asked God to protect him.
Seeing Grant walking down the corridor, I didn’t see an 18-year-old, I saw my sweet 5-year-old son with his Spiderman backpack, turning around to catch one last glimpse of me, before opening the door to the life that the Lord has planned out for him.
Parenting isn’t easy.
Watching my oldest child leaving for college is honestly one of the hardest things that I have done as a parent.
With the distance between us getting longer and longer, Grant turned around one last time and waved. With his hand extended out, he grabbed the outer door to his residence hall and disappeared.
And I sobbed.
What to Do Now?
Communicating with your college-age student can be a little tricky. You don’t want to hound them repeatedly to see how they are doing, but you also would like to hear from them.
The solution that Grant and I came up with was that he would text when he wanted to, and I would text him every morning – not to check in with him, but to pray for him. This was actually his idea. I’ve prayed over the boys every day before school, and he wanted me to continue to do so. The understanding is that if he has a chance to text back to my prayer, he would. If not, it wasn’t a big deal. I realize that we are only a week in, but so far, this has worked for us.
Moms, let’s join together in praying over our college students and for us. Joshua 1:9 is a verse that will not only help our students get through college but all us, as moms as we transition to a different role in their lives.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I am praying for you as we all navigate through these college years together!
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My name is Missy, and I love Jesus!
I am a Christ-follower, wife, mom, author, and speaker.
Agree…it is okay to cry. You and Craig have done an amazing job raising your boys. Your story brought back some nice memories of our own experience with our Daughter Brittany.
Thank you for your kind words, Kim! Children grow up way too fast, don’t they? I am thankful for all the great memories, and even the not so great ones!
Missy: When my most adventuresome child (the youngest of three) decided to go out of state for college, I thought I would be ‘okay.’ That is, until the day I drove him to the airport. My older son captured a photo of me hugging my son ‘goodbye’ at the curb. I was scheduled to go and meet with other mom-friends at a luncheon not far away to help me cope with the day’s events. I balled all the way — from the time he entered the terminal. And I cried at the luncheon, too. But it was the place I needed to be, with women from previous Bible Study groups, who KNEW the pain I was in.
God has an amazing way to comfort in time of need.
Thank you for sharing your story! It was so emotional, and I know that I am not alone! I’m so thankful for everyone’s thoughts and prayers as we navigated through this transition of parenting.