Many months ago, my husband asked me what I was going to do with my third child leaving home, after all, I am a stay at home mother. I told him I would be fine keeping myself busy.
I just got back from settling my son into his dorm at the Colorado University of Boulder. This is my third time around which one would think would be easier. I knew my son Charlie was ready to go, but I didn’t realize, that I wasn’t. When my oldest son left for college, it was easier because he went to boarding school for high school, the transition for him wasn’t difficult. He did attend college in Chicago, which was far from San Diego but because I had three children at home to look after, I was more distracted.
Jake was my second child to go to college and it was hard to say goodbye but again, I had two younger children still at home. Charlie is my third boy and child to leave for college and probably more of a homebody than the others. He would have rathered have all his friends at our home than go anywhere else. We always have a constant flow of kids in and out of our home and I was regularly cooking for them. This also goes along for my daughter Priva who usually has a constant flow of friends around our home.
Priva has recently gotten her driver’s license and is out and about a lot making it very quiet in our home. While I am excited for my daughter to be able to drive and have her independence, I am sad for our time together in the car. She is starting school in a couple of days and this is the first time in 25 years that I am not driving anyone to school.
Ideas to help
Since this is my third time around with the college send-off, there are some things that I did to make myself feel better during this transition, maybe it can help you as well.
- Write a heartfelt letter to your child expressing your hopes and dreams for them and let them know how much you love them. I wrote two letters, a heartfelt one and a list of things to live by.
Important words from your momma
Change your sheets at least once a month
Wear clean clothes
Don’t leave wet clothes in the washer too long, it will get moldy
Separate darks from whites
Always have clean nails on both feet and hands, cut
Always wash your hands and use sanitizer
Always open a door for a female, that means let them walk in first
Go to your classes
Do your work
Get rest/take naps
Exercise, weights, and cardio
Eat a balanced diet
Wear sunscreen, redheads are more likely to get skin cancer
Put your napkin on your lap
Eat with your mouth closed
Drink a lot of water
Build relationships with your professors
When you shake someone’s hand look him or her in the eye
Check your emails multiple times, daily
Talk to a friend, counselor, therapist, and family member if not feeling ok
Help someone who is struggling
Limit screen time
Use phone etiquette when around others
Help do dishes if you are a guest at a dinner party
Bring a gift to the host of a party
If you are a guest at a home, clean room and make the bed
Don’t get in a car with someone who seems intoxicated or high
HAVE THE BEST TIME EVER!!!!
2. Making a date for a call has always worked well for us. The kids are so busy with classes, activities and social time, it seems like there is never a good time to call. We are so fortunate to have the ability to talk and see our children with facetime.
3. Statistics say the third week of college is the roughest. They have settled into their living arrangements, classes, etc. This may be a good time to send a care package, maybe some homemade cookies, or just a card to say your thinking of them.
If you have been a helicopter parent like myself, it is very hard to let go and let them figure out things on their own. They now need to problem solve , get lost, feed themselves, and take care of themselves. It’s called growing up! Let them be and don’t call or text them a lot, (I know, it’s hard).
It was time to say our goodbyes, a moment I was anxious about. I gave my son a little going away package which included a framed picture of our family (for his dorm room), a box of a month’s supply of gummy vitamins (don’t want him to get sick), chapstick (it’s dry in boulder), hand sanitizer for his backpack (fight college germs), and his favorite candy. I hugged him, cried a lot and said goodbye.
Now that I am home, and my son is not, it does feel different. The house is quieter. I am ok. Transitions are hard and sometimes change is hard as well. I can’t wait until my facetime call this weekend!