The back of the minivan is loaded along with the trunk of your young adult’s car and it’s time to head to the college campus once again, or maybe even for the first time. Crammed tightly into the spaces of those vehicles is everything from linens to medicines, along with the unseen piece of mom’s heart that goes with those college bound kids. Does it ever get any easier to transition once again following summer, holiday break or senior year to an emptier house and a less active role as Mom?
Since sending off my youngest to college two years ago I’ve had a lot of time to think on these things and adjust but I still cry, I still miss him and I still feel a void in not having the role that I once had in his life. But I’m learning more with each new season of his life to not long for what was because in wanting what was I am taking the joy out of all the opportunity that God is granting him and failing to see how fortunate I am that I get to see my child head off to college, I get to hear of his new experiences and his natural growth into independence, and I get to watch him grow into a man that will have the skills to make a living, build a family and possibly send his own kids to college.
As a weepy parent I need to be sensitive to the reality that there are those parents who have had or will have much harder transitions to make. The parents of the promising young one who’s life was much briefer than expected, the parents of the wayward child who’s life took a wrong turn, or the parents who, at the birth of their child had all the same hopes and dreams I did for mine but an unexpected disability changed that vision for all of their lives.
For my part I am seeking to embrace the path of thankfulness more than sadness. I admit it’s a work for me because I miss my kids when they’re gone, as do most of us moms! But I want to live in the truth of what God instructs us about life, that “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—-“.Ecc 3:1 That most certainly includes a time to let go and seek to fill the “void” in ways that God has shaped me for in this season of my life.
For the first time college mom, know that there are those of us who know exactly how you feel! Go ahead and cry it out, allow those brief moments of sadness to wash over you, don’t be shy about asking for prayer, and then stay busy! Don’t despair, your child still needs you at this time! For us “seasoned” college moms, let’s not encumber our growing and stretching kids with our emotions, but assure them of our pride in them for their growth and progress! As their need of us in some capacities diminish let’s grow ourselves in the new role that God intends us to have in their lives and be okay with it! And realize that even in these healthy steps of growth and change, it’s okay for them to find tucked away in their lives a piece of Mom’s heart! There are some things that never change!