Tuesday, August 13, 2019

What to Expect the First Year {College Edition}

This has been a post on my mind for several months now, and I think I'm just slightly qualified to write it. Especially since I just sent our daughter off to begin her second year of college a couple weeks ago. {Insert tears} No, but really, I have struggled with this new season a little more than I ever expected. But, it's also such a fun time in our lives. I've witnessed a complete transformation in her, in a good way, of course. She's growing up, maturing, figuring out her path and what she wants out of life and it's just a whole lot of fun to sit back and watch it all take place!

So, this is my post for you mamas. The ones that are getting ready to drop their babies off in the next couple of weeks. The ones that aren't sure what this new season of life may bring.

If you are like me, you made it through graduation, the open house celebration and every other important event without breaking down. It's a time for celebration, right? There was no need to cry or feel sad. We did it! I say we, because us parents have just as much claim in that diploma as they do.

You've hopefully spent time this summer enjoying last minute trips, embracing these "final" days together, making them their favorite meals and treats and shopping trips for all of the dorm essentials.

The day is set, you've probably got two car loads of belongings to take with and you're moving your kiddo into their new home away from home. You might have a bit of an anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach, holding back tears that you don't exactly know where they're coming from. And then you get there, and there's so many students and families all doing the exact same thing you are. It's crowded and you quickly move boxes and totes from the car to the itty bitty dorm room. If you're lucky, you'll get to stay and help them set up their new arrangement. But, in all reality, there just isn't enough room and it's time to let them go. You've done your job, you've set them up for success and now it's time to let them fly.

Driving away was the hardest. Giving that final hug before we got back into the car was not easy. I instantly got into the car and literally began bawling. And I'm not going to lie, that whole week afterwards was difficult. There were tears out of the blue. The walking past her bedroom and it being so empty. The getting used to one less person in the house. It was just a new normal and it takes time getting used to.

If I had to give you a few tips for the upcoming school year, they would be:

1. Give yourself grace and let yourself grieve. Like I said, it's just a new normal. It takes time getting used to the changes. Even though we as parents are happy for our children, it's okay to feel sad. They are growing up and not needing us as much anymore. It's fun and a little sad at the same time.

2. Be prepared for full laundry baskets when they do return home for visits! Haha! I'm serious though. But, I'm pretty sure you won't mind doing some extra laundry again for the weekend.

3. It never gets any easier watching them drive away. When it's time to head back from the holidays, winter break, etc. You might still find yourself fighting back tears. It's almost like it starts all over.

4. Have faith that you raised them well and they will make the right decisions in life. You have to step back now and let them figure things out on their own. It's not easy, but they have to make the mistakes. They might fall, but you better believe they'll get right back up. You did good mom and dad!

5. Cook their favorite meals and snacks for when they come home. Visits are few and far between, so ask what they'd like to have for dinner. You have to remember, those cafeteria meals don't compare to mom's home cooking!

6. They might not admit it, but they get a little homesick too at times. Phone calls, text messages, facetime calls; they want to share their new life with you just as much as you want to hear about it. I pray that you are able to keep in touch with your child just as much as our daughter does with us. They love receiving fun surprises in the mail too!

7. Sit back and enjoy this new season! Life is beautiful. Be sure to enjoy each and every moment. This new season that you're in; it's one to be cherished.

So dear mama, I know what you're feeling. I really do. And, I'm here sending you a big hug and lots of love during this transition. You've done good. Now, it's time to sit back and enjoy the ride.
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