Moving In and Letting Go



Today we're traveling to this campus to drop our freshman daughter off at college. Our van is stuffed full of everything we could think of to create a home away from home for this precious girl that has shared our home for the past 18 years. She'll now sleep and eat and actually live here. She'll meet new friends and experience things we'll only hear about, if we're lucky enough to have her share them with us. It's the way it's supposed to be. Everyone tells you your children will leave and make their own way, and many a teenage day you wish it would hurry up and get here...but then it comes and all of a sudden it hurts to breathe.

But there's also excitement because let's face it, there's a great big world waiting out there. I mean walking those paths and getting to learn new things and meet so many people seems pretty enticing. And decorating a dorm room sounds fun! We've been collecting things and planning and I'm anxious to get there and see what we can do to erase the institutional look from her four walls. It's the part after the decorating that I'm dreading. I'm dreading good-bye.

A few months ago, I wrote about the joy and pain I felt leading up to high school graduation in You Might See Me Crying. The only thing I'd change in that post to reflect how I feel about college move in day is the title because today you will see me crying...and laughing and reminiscing. The irony of this process is that we're sad to see her go, but we'd be even sadder to see her stay. She's ready to be independent and we look forward to seeing what and who she becomes these next four years.

This is going to be a process...letting go and learning how to parent in a different way. If you've experienced this with your kids, or remember some helpful things your parents did, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. The first one is always the guinea pig, so I'm sure my daughter would appreciate any advice you have to give, too!


57 comments:

  1. Oh Marie . . . I feel for you. I completely understand what you're thinking and feeling.
    Our oldest son attended University out-of-state. I still remember how I felt taking him to the airport . . . I was so sad. I cried a lot for several weeks. I missed having him around . . . and the qualities/personality that he added to our family. For me, putting together care packages was a big help, as well and visiting on Skype. Thinking of you and sending hugs, as you help set your daughter up for a successful 1st semester away from home.
    Suzanne

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne! It went really well yesterday and we had a lot of fun decorating her dorm room. It was hard to say goodbye though. Definitely going to miss her! I think having your son out-of -state must have been really hard! Thanks for your encouraging words, it's good to know other people have felt this way, too!

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  2. It is so hard taking a child to college! Our youngest is now a junior in college. He attends a university in our city, but when we left him at the dorm at the beginning of his freshman year it was still so hard on my heart, even though he wasn't far away.

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    1. Leaving yesterday was hardest part. It's fun and exciting getting everything set up, but driving away is painful!

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  3. Sending good thoughts and wishes your way! So many emotions. It is so hard to see them go, but I know you are so proud of her. I think it's definitely a little easier with today's technology - being able to text and skype is so wonderful!

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    1. Thanks, Lana! Up until now I've avoided skype and face time because it feels weird seeing yourself on the computer, but I think I might have to break down and get used to it. :)

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  4. She is excited no doubt, but I can assure you she will miss you terribly too! Thinking back to my college years, some of the best things my parents did was send me care packages, come to visit every now and then, send me back home with food if I came home for the weekend, help me with laundry and check my car when I was home, etc. They also taught me lessons (that I didn't necessarily appreciate at the time, but I really do now) that have helped me mature and learn life in the real world. I can remember running low on money, because I hadn't started my part time job yet, and calling my mom asking her to send me some. She wouldn't do it! I was so mad at her at the time, but it taught me to stretch every penny!

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    1. Haha Chelsea! I appreciate your honesty. I think a little tough love on finances may be in our future and it's good to know you appreciate it now! :) The suggestions you gave are great, thanks!

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  5. Thanks for linking up! While we aren't quite there yet, I know it will seem like a blink of an eye before we are doing this for our eldest :( But, you are so right that it would be sadder to see them stay! You've encouraged me to be more intentional with my parenting since time goes so fast. So important and thanks for sharing!
    -S.L. Payne, uncommongrace.net

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    1. It does go by fast! Doesn't always feel that way when you're in the midst of it, but looking back it flew!

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  6. It's hard on you to have her away, but it's a huge compliment to you! You did something very right for her to be able to make it on her own like this.

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    1. Thanks, Shannon! I'm looking forward to her stories. New experience for the both of us!

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  7. I hope you guys have an easy move in, like that's ever happen to anyone, ever. I hope you guys are comfortable and your house looks like a home in no time. Happy Thursday!

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  8. It was a quiet ride home when we left our daughter at college for the first time. It changes the whole dynamic of your family as we had to adjust to only having one child at home. Things just didn't seem quite right for a while, but it doesn't take long for the new normal to seem.....normal. Her trips home and our visits to see her just give us all something to look forward to! Thinking of you.....it's rough for a little while.

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Joni! I've enjoyed reading your posts this year and have gotten a little taste of what it's going to be like. I thought of you when we packed up the van and my dining room was emptied of all the dorm supplies! :) I'm looking forward to her visits home, for sure!

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  9. Have watched my friends send their children off to college the last few years. It's been painful for them. Some have gotten married, had children, and are leading productive lives. Some haven't made the best choices. I haven't been down this road myself yet and I'm dreading it. Peace be with you Strong Mommy.
    Blessings,

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    1. Thanks, Deborah! I'm sure it will be a learning process and take some getting used to!

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  10. Oh wow, bitter sweet for sure. My oldest is almost 13 and I realize that my years of parenting in the home are limited. Taking her to college will be a hard day for me. Good luck and hugs with this new stage of life for both of you!

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! Those teenage years go by pretty quickly, but that's probably a good thing! :)

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  11. no helpful advice here ... I'm watching people like you to learn myself! My oldest is 11, and I already feel all of those mixed emotions; such a joy to see them grow, so sad to let other seasons go!

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  12. Hi Marie! I am in the very same boat...we dropped off and moved in nearly a month ago (early check in for marching band) and it was so weird. I felt like I was somehow releasing him yet I wanted to hold on so bad. When he calls to tell me about this new experience or something that happened I feel such mixed emotions-joy, happiness, sadness...but still I know it has to happen.It is a process. Thanks so much for sharing and helping me realize I'm not the only one... :)

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    1. Definitely not the only one! Good to know that others are feeling all these things, too!

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  13. I am right there with you. we just dropped off my daughter (my oldest) off at college for the first time four days ago.I have been crying on and off. When I walk past her room, when I go to make her favorite food and remember she won't be here to eat it. It's so hard when you've devoted your life for eight teen years to someone so precious to you. I knew this day would come, but I knew it would come way too soon. So happy for her though.I posted something on her graduation day as well. Glad I found your blog!

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    1. Hi Tanya, thank you so much for the sweet comment. I just read your post about graduation day and have many of the same feelings and thoughts. It's good to know others are out there going through the same things!

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  14. I don't even want to think about college...sigh. Good luck and know that you have done the best you could to prepare her for life.

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  16. I love how this time of year is one for both letting go & starting anew! Thanks for sharing this sweet post. I'm visiting from the blog link up. Blessings!

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  17. Oh my goodness what a moment! I'm years from this time with my little girl, and also years from the day I did it myself but it sounds like you are all doing it with grace. Wishing her luck in her first year!

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  18. I was walking this morning on the college campus where I attended and met my husband almost 21 years ago. The freshmen arrived at the school yesterday and I passed several of them along with their parents and I wanted to stop each of them (although I didn't) and say words like, "She's going to love it here!" and "She will be well taken care of." It's true, in spite of the fact that the crazy lady didn't stop them to tell them so.
    I just sent my children to the classroom. I'll still see them everyday and it hurts to breathe a little here too. Continued prayers that all of your worries will be handled by Him, who is always with your family even when they are apart.

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    1. Thanks, Heather! She's already having a good time, so I'm pretty sure she's going to be fine. :) I think the parents have a much harder time getting used to it than the kids! I hope your kids are doing well. I'm sure it's a big adjustment for all of you!

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  19. This is going to be hard when my kids go away. It'll be a huge adjustment.

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  20. I feel like I have a long time until this happens with us, but I also know that time will fly by. I'm looking forward to it..but I'm not at the same time. It's a big adjustment but it sounds like you have a great attitude about it.

    Thank you for linking up with the SHINE Blog Hop this week! :)

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  21. My twin daughters left home last September for university. I'm not going to pretend that it was easy, but our teens are not ours to keep and it was time for them to make their way in the world and learn from their mistakes.
    Good luck to both of you x

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    1. Thanks, Izzie! I've enjoyed reading your blog this year because of your stories about your twins. I especially love your humorous stories about when they come home! :)

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  22. I haven't had to go through this yet and I can't imagine the sadness you must be feeling as your dauhgter moves out, I am sure when it's time for my eldest to leave I will be sad that he's going, although I'll be happy that he's on his way to becoming an independent adult. Good luck to your daughter on her new big adventure! Popping in from Magic Moments.

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  23. sending you massive hugs and your daughter all the luck in the world on her new adventure

    thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

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  24. Number One, it looks like you are too young to have a kid going to college!! Secondly, it sounds to me that you are experiencing all the right emotions at just the right time. It will be tough, but that just means you're a great mom! Praying all goes well...Blessings!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! Always nice to hear that. :)

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  25. Such a wise and thoughtful post. All the best to you and your child in the journey ahead. My Mum stayed strong when she dropped me off at college but I was told later sobbed for 3 hours on the way home

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    1. I think the ride home is full of tears for a lot of moms, for sure!

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  26. Marie, you summed up the transition to the first day of college perfectly! With such an empathic mom, your daughter is sure to succeed! We will be taking a sophomore back in just a few weeks - the good thing is that it is a little easier, knowing how happy she is there, but I'm already looking forward to her visits home (and she hasn't even left yet!) The hardest part of being a mom is letting go.

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    1. That's definitely the hardest part, Susan! I'm glad to know that it's a little easier for you this year!

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  27. I can remember well the day I took my oldest daughter to college ... four years ago! Now she's graduated and moving on. Treasure these next years, and visit as often as you can. They will fly by. Thanks for sharing!

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  28. And here's me worrying about a first day in kindergarten! Doesn't get any easier, does it! But, you are abolsutley right, at every stage, they need to make these steps; each one is teaching them to become the independant adult that we want them to become. Lovely post x

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    1. All big transitions are hard, from kindergarten to college. They all bring out that feeling of letting them go a little more!

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  29. Hi Marie! I can't believe I came across your blog this morning! I am going through the same thing...we just dropped off our daughter on the 15th and while I am so excited for her to have the "college experience", I am so sad that she is gone. The week leading up to her leaving, I would burst into tears just thinking about taking her to school. I managed to do well the day of move in until it was time to say goodbye. Nobody prepares you for that! I burst into tears but then laughed about it. It was the days after that were the hardest. The house felt so quiet & empty. I have a son still at home and he is less than thrilled about the extra attention he is getting. :-) But we are doing much better now. I think that the hardest part for me is not knowing what she is doing or where she is at all times. She is a great kid but you can't help but worry. I have been told that it gets easier....I sure hope so. Best of luck to you! Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Denise! The days afterward have been the saddest with the quiet and knowing all the busywork leading up to leaving is done. You're right, the hardest part is not knowing what she's doing and not getting to share in her new experiences. Hard stage for moms, for sure!

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  30. I have not had a move in day with my daughter yet, but I am looking forward to it. I so enjoyed my college days. I remember mom taking me to my dorm room and helping me get settled. She cried when she left. It was a special day. Thanks for sharing.

    Mary-andering Creatively

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    1. Thanks, Mary! I remember hearing that my mom cried after she left me at college and I couldn't really picture it. Now I understand what she was feeling!

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  31. I always remember the words of my mother quoting Khalil Gibran's The Prophet to me when he wrote about parenting - "your children are the arrows and you are the bow from which you must set them to fly". Thankfully college days are at least 13 years away for me, but it feels like as a parent you have to spend every day preparing yourself to let your little birds fly free one day.

    Thanks for linking up to All About You.
    x

    Mama-andmore.com

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  32. I can imagine its so hard to say goodbye while they are away at colllege. I still have two young ones but I know I will be an emotional wreck when they both go. I only now feel so bad for leaving my own mother and moving across the world she must feel like this too! Bless you, bless her. Life brings up so many amazing angles and grateful things but it's hard to let them fly the coup isn't it? Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round! #sharewithme

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you!