Getting Through the First Goodbye

All over Facebook and Blogland I see mothers of freshman students breaking down as they leave their babies on college campuses for the first time. And I wince for them, feeling the pain, just as when I see one of my kids getting a shot that I know will be good for them in the long run.

I was right in the midst of all those feelings last fall. I didn't know how often I would see or talk to my daughter. I didn't know how much I would know about this new life she was building and where I would fit into it. I think that's the biggest fear of moms at this stage. How will college life change our relationship with our kids?

What I found out pretty quickly though is that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder in this situation. Being away made her enjoy and really want to spend her breaks and vacations with us. We've had a lot fun together this year and I can see that we're on our way to that long awaited parenting promised land of friendship. 

College brought about other positive changes in our relationship as well. I learned that she makes a lot of good decisions on her own and she learned that her parents often have good advice. I got used to not knowing what she was doing all the time and she started sharing more about her activities. I gave up and let her spend her money without as many questions and she discovered that budgeting is important. I started to let go and she reached out. 

This stage of life brings a lot of changes, but they're mostly good ones. Once you get going, it really is satisfying and amazing to see your kids take off on this new adventure. 

So when freshman year comes, cry and hug and bemoan that your baby has grown up. I fully intend to do all that next year when I drop off my son. But also know that you're going to like many of the changes college life brings!


  1. I'm so happy to read this, Marie. I'll be sending off my first next year, and I need to hear positive things like this from moms who have been through it. Thank you!

  2. So lovely to hear words of encouragement from a mum who's experienced a child leaving for college. My daughters left for uni in 2013 and have thrived. I like to think that as parents we've taught them how to be independent and I hope some of the things we've nagged about over the years has influenced the choices they make. You must be so proud of your daughter x

  3. Thanks for writing about your experience. My youngest will be heading off to college next year and I'm already dreading it - but trying not to! It helps to read about your positive experience.

  4. This makes me happy. I am dreading the day when this time comes, but your post gives me hope. Although someday sooner than I know I would like, each of my children will need to go their own way, but there is positives to look forward to as well. Thanks Marie for your insight and wisdom here.

  5. Aw. I know it's going to be hard to drop my kids off. But I know they need to experience life on their own.


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