When my oldest started high school, I imagined a gigantic hourglass full of sand flipping over, and our countdown was on for how much longer we had him in our home. He had completed eight years of school, kindergarten, and preschool, and here we were entering the final lap of schooling for him—the last lap of our time with him at home.
I felt an urgency to do everything and say all the things in the next four years. What all did I need to teach him and do with him? I almost yearned for a four-year plan to launch him into the world. I wanted someone just to tell me what to do!
Then, life kept moving. I have three kids behind him, and the minutes that were available for me to sit around and dread him leaving were nonexistent. So, I carried on and forgot about the hourglass until this year. He’s a senior now. I thought of that hourglass the other day, how the bottom is way more full than it was three years ago. We’re nearing the end now, and I am genuinely dreading it and also excited about his next stage of life.
We’re four months and one week away from graduation, and I still have that urgency inside of me when I think about him leaving. Have we done enough? Did he learn everything we wanted to teach him? Does he know how much we love him and support him?
Maybe you are here as well —preparing to send that child off to college. This is my first time, so I am not full of wisdom on how this will go down, but here are a few things I’m focusing on:
He’s not leaving forever.
This might sound like the most obvious thing I could ever state, but I have to keep reminding myself of this. He’s 18 and heading to college; he’ll be back! Yes, it will be different, but as I tell my kids, different does not equal bad – it just equals different.
This is most definitely the end of something. But it’s not the end of him being a part of our family or having a room at our house (although I joke the day he leaves, I’m transforming his room to a workout room or a library, or maybe both!). It’s not the end of me being his mom. It’s just us all transitioning into something new.
There will always be more to teach.
Again, I haven’t walked the road of parenting a child in college or their 20’s, but from what I’m learning from my friends that have, there’s always more parenting to do – it just looks different. He might be graduating from high school, but he’s still my child. I get the joy to pour into him for the rest of my life.
Some of the most profound things I remember learning from my parents happened after high school. It’s a new teaching and learning time, and I’m weirdly excited about it.
This is how it’s supposed to be.
The natural progression of life is happening right before my eyes. I might be sad about him graduating and heading off to college, but there’s nothing in me that wants my kids living with me forever! I am watching a child turn into a man right before my eyes, and honestly, it’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.
Mama’s to seniors, we will make it to graduation and beyond. We will keep loving our babies (and yes, they are our babies forever), keep trusting in someone much more significant than us to keep them safe, and cheer for them as they take the next big steps in their lives.
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in your, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
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