Dear moms of students heading to University,
This Sunday letter is in tribute to all the moms who have students going off to University or College, especially moms with students leaving for the first time.
I just dropped off Big One this week for her second year at University. While the physical pain feels less this year than last, it is still such a bittersweet moment. We raise them to be independent and strong and able to take care of themselves. And then, dammit, they do it. And if we did our job really well, they don’t look back. They look forward with hope and dreams and expectations.
And if we did our jobs of preparing them exceptionally, they share some of it with us. Texting, calls, and visits. Each of these are important. And they don’t have to do any of it. If we are fortunate, the bond between parent and child gets stronger and different. Once they don’t need us as much, we hope they want us more. To talk, and share, and laugh, and love.
So…if this is your first year dropping off a student, I will tell you what I wished people would have told me. Not just that everything will be fine and Big One could take care of herself. I wished people would have told me that it is hard and gut-wrenching to let someone go who you have loved and lived with for 18+ years. And it’s okay to feel this way. And then, tell me it will be fine. Because without acknowledging the pain, I couldn’t hear the rest. I did meet a mom named Debra who described her experience and I felt my words were coming out of her mouth. I still remember her a year later and how she affected my life in an instant of connection.
It’s okay to be sad. But don’t wallow in it. It won’t help you or the kid going away. Put on a brave face, drink a cup of tea. And breathe.
It is not easy the second year either. But it is easier.