How did you handle your child going off to college?

Shawn - posted on 01/26/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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My son is 17, in his senior year and planning to go off to college in August. Did I forget to mention he is my ONLY child. I thought I was cool with him leaving since my son loves his momma but he was never a cling-on baby. He is well traveled and I am use to him being away from home. He has done sleepovers and has had plenty of trips without me for weeks at a time. LOL, he's going to Costa Rica for 9 days in April. Had to renew his passport. I guess the problem is the closer we get to graduation the more I'm starting to feel pangs of (I don't know what). It doesn't help to see the news and just today a Geneva College student is missing and you see all these things going on at college campus' today. I watch these stories and I think as parent (I didn't send my kid to college to be raped, mugged, kidnapped or SHOT)! I know I can't protect him anymore and I am a praying mother but today I had a harsh reality that I DON'T WANT MY KID TO GO. I don't want to be one of those clinging mothers (so far in his 17 years I haven't been) who calls his dorm every five minutes. Any advice from mom's who have experienced this would be most helpful.

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Kathie - posted on 09/18/2012

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I have one son. He leaves for college tomorrow. All of these posts are helpful.. Thank you. I cry a lot, not in front of him, and the hole is more than I can bare. He hasn't even left yet and the anxiety of missing him has made such a mess. They crying is normal, I know, but why the anxiety? I'm not worried about him, I'm incredibly sad for me. How selfish is this? I don't want him out of my everyday life. He is my light. But this isn't about me, so how do I move on? How do I manage these horrible anxiety episodes?

Dalton - posted on 01/28/2011

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Because I’m working on our third walking out the door to college, I can feel the blisters those shoes you are wearing are creating. With our first born, four months prior to graduation I cried anytime college or his leaving was brought up in discussion or just in passing. It became a joke at our house, they would all bet each other how many words they had to say about him leaving before I broke down crying. And it wasn’t just the kids participating. My husband and friends got some of that action! At about two months prior to graduation, my loving son came to me and asked if I had changed my mind about him attending college. When I was able to finally control my sobbing, I asked him in that loving mommy voice, “Why in the world would you ask me such a thing? No, I haven’t changed my mind. You ARE going to college!”. He said that he hadn’t really thought about it much up until that point, he just figured he didn’t have an option. He knew from the beginning of time that he was going. We hadn’t given him an option. There was no discussion. It was just a fact of life. Much like it is expected you will 1) brush your teeth before you go to bed; and 2) wipe your behind after you use the bathroom. It was never questioned. UNTIL then! Through my tears I explained to him that through all his years, until the point in time when he leaves for college, I had spoken to him every day of his life! And that was about to change. #1 son, put his arms around me and looked me straight into the eye and said, “That isn’t going to change because I’m in college, this is a promise I am making to you right now”. Needless to say, this May he graduates from college and not once did a day go by without him talking to me. Whether it was via: phone, facebook, IM, txt, or Skyype. That message, “Hi Mom, I love you!” was one of the greatest parts of my day.

When #2 son went away to college, I cried for the two months leading up to departure. Told him to study hard, have fun, be safe, keep his penis in his pants, and remember I was always thinking about him.

Number three is graduating from high school in May. I’ve already packed his bags, purchased a “Welcome to the dorm” gift basket to be delivered, and scheduled a complete day at the spa for me on his departure day. I shed an occassional tear everytime I think about how much longer I have to wait before he leaves!!

My recommendation: Pray, Cry, Pray, Smile, Pray, Wave, Pray, Holler “See you soon”, and then head to the spa! Before you know it Christmas break will be before you and you’ll be saying, “gee honey, isn’t it about time for you to be heading back to school? Here let me help you repack !”.

Pamela - posted on 12/08/2011

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Our son left for college in August :( My head knew he was leaving but to my heart it was a total shock, LOL! I cried when we took him and in the hotel that night, after my husband and daughter went to sleep. I went into the bathroom, got into the bathtub and called my mom and cried like a newborn baby! The thought of leaving him was almost as painful as giving birth!! My son to is well travelled, not a clinger and was ready to fly the nest. I spent many a month crying and in a real funk. he plays football and we got to see him biweekly. The more I went and saw how happy he was the better I felt. He doesnt call near enough, but I have to live with that. I too felt like the minute he was gone something would happen or someone would harm him, LOL! He was just home for Thanksgiving and although I said I wouldn't -- I cried when he walked through the door and held him tight. He's my baby and he kind of melted into me -- home at last! So my advice to you is to let go (easier said than done) and know that God's got it! That's what I have to tell myself as our last child (only had 2 -- should of have a dozen LOL) my daughter graduates in 2012 and heads to college. I am proud of them and want them to got out and challenge the world and seek their fame and fortune. But my heart is broken a little bit and I think it will break a little more when she leaves, sigh.....I now have to re-invent myself, focus more on my career, go back to school for my MBA. Exciting yes, but daunting has they have been my main focus for so many years! Blessings to you as you enter this new phase of motherhood!

Donna - posted on 01/29/2011

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Hi shawn, My son went to college last year and I was really devastated - cried the whole 3 hr trip home and was feeling somewhat depressed for the first 3 months. Its such a big change in your family and I have 2 others at home. You just have to keep thinking that it is the best thing for them to be getting educated. My son has a very good head on his shoulders. He has made a great group of friends who are a lot like him and I can see how happy he his and how much he is maturing. It feels really odd to not see him every day but they are actually home quite a bit with all the breaks they get. Just remember how lucky you are that you have a smart child that wants to be in college. It gets easier as you get more ussed to them being away although still sad. Unfortunately parenthood is about letting go too- just be happy they are making decisions to be well educated for their future. Good luck.

Candy - posted on 01/29/2011

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Okay honey, I am the mum of an only child too so I know where you're at. You have to put yourself in his shoes, though. Would you like to have been kept at home all your life because your mum was scared you would be raped and murdered? You KNOW it's just not realistic.

Loving is not about clinging on. Loving is about letting go. Who ever said love was easy? Not with a man, not with a child. This is a test of the strength of your love and respect for that boy. You MUST let him go and let him grow.

Be honest about your sadness and make sure you keep in touch of course- reassure him that you are always, always there for him. And then start thinking about YOU.

What have you been putting off while you were bringing him up? What do you want for YOU? You have a lot of giving left in you and it doesn't all have to go to your child. Volunteer with kids in your community... make new connections... fill your life with others who need all that love. I went off and started working with preschoolers and it's the best thing I ever did. You can do it! And before you know it he'll be bringing someone home to meet you... maybe some grandkids... turn the page and you might find that the next part of your life is just as wonderful. Lots of love to you.

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Meg - posted on 03/23/2014

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My only son will be leaving for college this September. I had him as an older Mom (almost 41) and I had worked for almost 20 years nonstop prior to that. It was a job I hated, and would never go back to. How do you go about figuring out what to do with the next chapter of your life? I guess this is aimed at SAHMs who have been out of the work force for some time. Do you volunteer, take up hobbies? All my friends before were the Moms of my son's friends. Once my son leaves for college, I know I will need social interaction, but where do you find that, especially during the daytime hours?

Gina - posted on 12/08/2011

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I am going through the same thing and am secretly pleased at the thought of my son experiencing life and making his own decisions. He only has one life and I only have one life, so while I am glad I was able to share this portion with him, I also know when it is time to step back. You will know when that time is...Good Luck

Shawn - posted on 08/03/2011

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My son is leaving and will be make a grand entrance to Geneva College on Aug 24th. We have set up Facebook and Skype as well as OooVoo and have laid out communication plans over the summer. I will miss him but after his college preview in June where we toured the campus and I got to see where he will be staying, meet some of the faculty and learn the area I am not as nervous about him leaving. The campus is gorgeous, most of the people we met at this Christian college were friendly and seemed to be genuinely sincere about taking care of him and the coming freshman. Thank you all for the advice as you can see I did put some of it to use. My son is an offical Golden Tornado. BLESS YOU KID AND GOD SPEED. Don't forget to call your momma every once in a while. LOL!

Shawn - posted on 02/14/2011

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Thanks everyone for the support. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond lately but on top of getting my son through his senior year and off to college he is going to Costa Rica in April and I'm dealing with Chemo so I just haven't felt like blogging. The other day my son layed across my bed and we talked for hours about his hopes and dreams for his future. He actually picked a Christian college as his top choice now. I feel better after talking to him. Even in he myst of that shooting @ Youngstown University I have to trust him to make the right decisions and trust that God has got him covered. He has his head on straight and according to him he hears me in his head everytime he starts to make a decision. Between me and God he said he will be fine. I believe him. Class of 2011 here we come.

Tonya - posted on 02/10/2011

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My oldest and I are very close. When she left for college in another state, I had a very difficult time, but so did she. We talked daily. It was a HUGE adjustment for both of us. I really wanted to go and get her when she would call crying, but I was strong. I encouraged her, talked her through her issues, and even did some online research for groups on campus. She is now a sophomore and this year has been smooth so far. My biggest advice is let him grow as a person....hold him responsible for his actions....and when he comes home that first summer...he will be maturing right before your eyes. I think that was my biggest surprise was she had turned into an adult!

Jane - posted on 01/31/2011

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My daughter is a Junior in college and is 1000 miles away. She's my first and I have a son who is a junior in high school. I can tell you this...when I took her to her college and had to leave her there, I bawled the whole 2 days home and for a week after.

Here was our deal. Facebook!!!! It's a wonderful way to know your kid is all fine and well without you having to bug them and call them. My daughter knows that if her status is not updated daily, I'm calling or texting (LOL). She's very good about it anyway but there are times when she gets so darned busy with school she forgets and I'll text her and say "status please" and within minutes, she has a new and amusing facebook status.

It is so hard to let them go but you have to. I know it's scary. But, I'll guarantee you this....the first long break they're home and they're messing up their room that has been clean and beautiful for a couple of months, you'll be ready for them to go back :)

Traci - posted on 01/31/2011

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This is hitting entirely close to home today as my oldest son just got his first acceptance letter. I can't imagine what it will be like in August, since I am already crying. I appreciate all the advice on here from the more seasoned moms!

KELLIKAYZ - posted on 01/31/2011

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I AM SO SORRY, I CAN TOTALLY RELATE. MY SON IS A SENIOR AS WELL. I DO HAVE ANOTHER SON WHO WILL BE STARTING HIGH SCHOOL WHEN HIS BROTHER LEAVES BUT I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CLOSE WITH MY BOYS. MY HEART IS ALREADY BREAKING AND AT TIMES I CATCH MYSELF IN TEARS AND THINKING BACK. THE ONE THING THAT I HAVE LEARNED IS THAT I NEEDED TO CREATE AN IDENTITY FOR MYSELF. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CONTENT TO BE "IKE AND IZZY'S MOM" AND NOTHING ELSE. I HAVE BEEN A NURSE FOR GOING ON 16 YEARS AND HAVE BEGUN THINKING ABOUT TRYING NEW THINGS. MAY GOD GIVE US BOTH STRENGTH, WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR MOMENTS JUST REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE. GOD WILL KEEP OUR BOYS SAFE, WE JUST TO HAVE FAITH.....AND LOTS OF TISSUE......

Amanda - posted on 01/31/2011

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My son is planning to leave in August as well. I thought I was ready but I never thought it would be this hard. I have two daughters to raise one is in high school and the other in middle school. I feel your pain with media and all the crazies out there. All I can say is love him, let him go out into the world and pray God holds him close to his heart and handles YOUR heart with care as well!! God Bless him and you!! Stay strong (o:

Kerri Lynn - posted on 01/28/2011

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My senior son is 19 and we both have been having these kind of growing pains all year! I just keep breathing and praying. I try to remind myself of the choices I made back in the day. This is all a much more painful process than I anticipated, but talking to him about my feelings as well as telling him about how I feel about the decisions he is making has helped. This is a time of learning for all parties, I just keep reminding myself of all the good choices my son has made and how much I regard him as a person.

It sounds like you trust his experience and ability to function, going to Costa Rica and other trips. We'll all live through this if we just keep on breathing and praying!

Louise - posted on 01/27/2011

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When my eldest son left for uni I was mortified but I would not let him know that. When he went out the door I sobbed buckets. I knew he would be alright but the physical act of him walking out the door was very hard. I have got over that now I speak to him every day on msn and we have a great relationship.

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