You’d think that by now sending my 3rd and final child off to college would be easy. That I’d have the routine down pat. Well – if routines, packing lists, and schedules were all there was to it – yes – we have this thing down to a science. For example, when she registered for her classes, her dad already had several choices mapped out by 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on an elaborate color coded spreadsheet. Yea – that’s the easy part. Trying not to cry in front of people is another thing altogether. So far, knock on wood, that has only happened once – but the transition isn’t over yet. You see – I am “losing” both my daughter’s in the month of August. One to a dorm in A&M and the other to an apartment in Lubbock with her husband. Like I’ve said before, things happen fast around here sometimes. Just this particular day then Beth’s boss asked if I was ready for her to move away – my stupid waterworks opened up because that morning I awoke, looked at the calendar and realized that in exactly one month from that date – both would be gone. Silly huh? They are not gone forever by no means. Just that one chapter has ended, and I, like one of my girls, sometimes do not like the start of new things but would rather get to the middle of it when it’s normal again.
So – for those out there experiencing this new chapter in your life – I only have a few words of wisdom for you.
1. Make the most of your time with your children and have an open hand because they will also want to spend time with friends who are also moving away. But – grab those moments when you can. A popular one with mine has been over the dinner table or breakfast, and of course, shopping.
2. Spend time listening to them. You know – they are nervous about leaving too, but they probably won’t admit it. Hence, the sometime grumpy, short tempered, attitude that comes out of no where. So – don’t take it personally when they snap at you.
3. After you’ve left them on their own, don’t be that mom who texts or calls 100 times to see if they are okay. Trust me – it’s very tempting, but just one or two texts will be enough. Even if it’s a thing like “hey – I packed your ___ in the ____.” I try not to go overboard by bugging them everyday, but try to put the ball in their court and give them a little space. Most of the time, I have received the phone call regarding how much detergent to use or how to cook a food item. My son would sometimes call while walking across campus to class. I called it his point A-B call. When my oldest daughter moved away, our phone calls sometimes happened on Sunday afternoons. You will find a right time, but let it be on their terms.
4. Send random, old fashioned letter or card with a gift card to their favorite coffee place. Maybe send a surprise care package of cookies just because. Even better, take the time to go see them in person at least once or twice during the school year and bring the goodies in person. Attend a football game together, or treat them to a place to eat or let them suggest a place they found and enjoy the experience together.
5. Finally – pray and trust in the raising. This is the time we take that verse at it’s word – Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he shall not depart from it. Yes – we have self will to deal with, but that is where the power of prayer comes into play. Bottom line, be ready for a shift in the relationship because our “babies” are transforming into the strong, independent young adults we always prayed for them to become when they were in diapers. It’s just time to realize that that time has come.