My son will be starting college fall/09, already crying. Any help how to cope would be appreciated? Thank you.

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Christie - posted on 06/04/2009

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I have seven children - three have married and have flown my nest for their own! My third will be leaving this summer. Focus on the present and the future, instead of on the past. Don't mourn for what was, but rejoice in what IS! You are so blessed that he is making a good choice, and going to college. Get on board with being a truly supportive college mom (not a helicopter mom!) Learn how to send care packages. Remember even minor holidays by sending cards or goodies. Connect on Facebook. Tell him how proud you are that he is growing into such a fine young man. You can do this!!!! Mom's rock!

Heather - posted on 06/06/2009

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I left for college in 1995. I remember both my mom and I crying he whole day leading up to my move, during the move, and I remember her crying as she drove away (well, my dad was driving, I don't think she could see). But you know what? We talked all the time. (I was 4 hrs away) We missed each other immensely, but she was always there for me. If anything, I think it brought us closer as friends vs mother/daughter. That bond has only continued to strengthen since them. After graduating, i think, was harder than college, because I opted to move 3 hrs away- I think she always thought I'd come home, but my boyfriend (now husband) had graduated 2 yrs before me and already had a job, so I moved w/ him. But we weathered that. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the bond of parent and child is always there, no matter the distance. I feel like there's an invisible thread that connects us all, and stretches no matter the mileage between us.

Janet - posted on 06/03/2009

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Nothing really will help as it is a natural process, its like you are morning them this is normal I spoke to someone about it and they said the feelings that you have is like you have lost them in death. They said each mother although different people react differently most go through an emotional time. You are greeving the same for your children leaving home as you would if you lost someone. I was one of the them it took a long time the trick is to be kept busy and every now again it will hit you so then you pick up that phone and give them a call or get yourself a computer with web cam on it. I don' t know if this helps I hope so but the hurt comes from the heart. I know It hit me more with my first boy I have two girls and the good thing is they are like a boomarang they keep coming back. LOL.

Kelly - posted on 06/03/2009

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Hi, Lisa, My son is going to Colorado for college in August (we live in NY) and I've been crying since he was accepted in February. Thanks to all the moms for the encouraging words. The funny thing is that I never left my hometown to go to college, I have stayed close to my parents' home my whole life, so the entire time they were growing up I URGED my boys to go away and see the world. Now that it's happening, I understand why my parents panicked so much at the idea of me going away to college. I'm glad my son is so independent and I know he'll be fine, but of course I worry and I'll miss him terribly. I guess it's just helpful to know I'm not the only sappy mom out there.

Betsy - posted on 06/03/2009

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I find this the most difficult part of parenting. Watching my son graduated and get ready for college, ending that huge chapter of his life and starting a new one, was the most heart-breaking, while at the same time being my proudest moment. It is a huge transition, where the relationship changes, hopefully creating a new type of relationship, including friendship and mutual respect between adults, rather than just mother/child. Allow yourself to mourn the prior chapter and create ways to make the new chapter special, which could be setting up a call at a certain time each week, a mother/son getaway where you reonnect, anything that creates that special bonding for the two of you as you transition into an adult/adult relationship.

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Sandie - posted on 08/30/2011

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My first piece of advice is to let it all out, cry as much as you can. BUT NOT in front of the child who is leaving. This can lead your child into feeling guilty for making you sad. When my son left after he got a career offer, I had to force myself into not only letting go, but pushing him out of the nest. His new career took him over 180 miles away. At first I felt as if I had a hole in my heart, but seeing him grow into a successful, dependable man healed that in me. I still talk with my son everyday even if it is just to say "I love you". He also is glad that I gave him the push he needed to get on his own. He went through some times of home sickness until he made his home his own. Give yourself permission to cry, it is perfectly normal and healthy. But let your son grow wings so that he can find his own place to put down roots.

Rae-ann Kelly - posted on 06/09/2009

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my daughter is graduating for high school. cant believe she's there already.

Lindsie - posted on 06/06/2009

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Just remember your his Mommy and he will always call and ask for help or advise or just to say hey MOM. My son went off to college and I cried for weeks. Called him everyday and it got to the point that when his phone would ring his friends would say (it's you Mom). I quit calling so much it was hard but I did it. Now he's home quit college and he won't leave. I always tell him the cord was not cut at birth.

Monique - posted on 06/04/2009

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Whew! I thought I was the only one that felt that way. My son leaves in the fall also and I am feeling the same way I did when he first started kindergarten. It is hard to let go, but I figure we made it through that first step, and we will make it through every step that follows. I sure am proud of him and I've made sure to let him know just how much. I know I will be doing a lot of crying come this fall, but I'm also very happy that he has made it this far. Good luck with your son, I'll be crying right along with you!



Monique

Lori - posted on 06/03/2009

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Hi Lisa!

Is this your only child? I have 3 girls, one is 24, and she is the mommy of a 6 year old and a 4 year old! They all live here! I also have one who just graduated Junior High today, and she is 14. My youngest is 5 and SHE just graduated Pre-School. So one who's done some college, one entering High School and one just starting Kindergarten! Whew!

So, yeah, I keep trying not to cry!

My 14 year old daughter wants to be an animal cop. She's been a vegetarian for a few years now ( Pepperoni does not count, lol). The only places available for this job are Miami and Houston. Even though I live in Florida, Miami is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. So, I'm not only facing losing her to college, which I really WANT her to do! But losing her to Texas for life.

Our job is to raise them to take care of themselves. We won't be around forever. It's certainly not easy, but there is always the phone, the internet, letters, and most important of all, they know you love them and are there for them, no matter what.

I don't know if that helps, but it's the best advice I can give you!

Take care, Lori~

P.S. Now you can go out and do something for YOU~:) You did a great job!

Bevin - posted on 06/03/2009

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I am there with you. My oldest son just graduated from high school and is at orientation w/ my husband looking to start college in August. I keep wondering where all of our time went.

Diane - posted on 06/03/2009

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I agree with Denise Wood about grief. I lost twins (carried seven months) to death in 1980. I finally lived through their birth/death day without a major weep for the first time in 2006. My step-daughter, whom I love dearly, left our home unexpectedly when she chose to graduate in January of her senior year of high school and move 4 states away. I grieved her deeply for about 5 years. The difficulty with healing this wound was that she did not welcome nor respond positively to contact from me of any kind, and I have still not been able to make amends with her. So I am focusing on making amends inside myself which will heal me no matter what anyone else does. I am going through divorce after having been with my love for over 18 years. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) happens when current events trigger emotional responses from the past. Going through divorce has caused me to have to deal with not only the grief of today, but the flashbacks of grief from both the losses of Elaine and Ellen and my lovely step-daughter. Time will be the major healer, and so will seeking out help in professional therapy, support groups focused on healing grief or 12-step work of some kind. My son left for college 4 states away in 1997. After moving him to school, as I was driving back home in the empty van I looked at the clouds in the sky and saw a gigantic eagle in flight with the sun making rays radiating out from it's heart. That was my "sign" that he would be fine and so would I. When he was a baby, one of the gifts I received was a wall plaque that said, "There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children: Roots and Wings". What I didn't know was that he would only be living at "home" again for one summer of the the next 10 years. We still live about 3500 miles apart and he is now contemplating continuing his life in a different country. The good news is that he has always remained in contact by both computer methods and phone. I still order birthday cakes from a local business near where he lives so that he gets a party whether I can be there in person or not. We see each other as much as finances and time will permit. When I visited recently, he invited me to play basketball with him in a scratch game with the high school students who were auditioning for the team he was coaching. He invited me to help him hang and be there for his first solo art gallery exhibition. There was initial grief as I got used to not seeing his face every day, but that healed fairly quickly and was replaced with the confidence that even though we could not be physically close, we could still be close in our hearts, spirits, and minds. I still wish that I could make spaghetti and be able to say to him, "want to come over for dinner tonight?" Then he surprises me and rings me when I am on line with instructions on how we can have a video chat! How wonderful is that?

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My first of five left home in 2000, now they are all gone! I AM STILL CRYING! I was very close to all my children. I have been divorced from their Dad since 2003, not remarried to divert any attention. I crave their friendship, which I do have, 5 grandkids, 2 on the way. You just have to divert your attention. Maybe I reacted more severe than others but "empty nest syndrome" is a glorified way of just saying GRIEF. It is a loss of one you love, not to death but out of your life in a big way. They will marry, their attention diverted...we never get back what we are losing. THIS IS MY COMFORT...we have established a yearly gathering with just me and my kids on July 4th, their Dad has Thanksgiving. They are all spread out on the East Coast so we have to do it this way. My son says I should not have raised them so well that they took to the road to make a difference in this world! 3 are in ministry, 1 has served 2x in Iraq going to Afghanistan in December and the 5th God has found to give me as my child of comfort. She lives nearby with my new grandson! We all react differently but it is important to choose to ACT not react. You will be free to use your mother skills on someone else the Lord could bring your way.

Ohood - posted on 06/03/2009

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thanks for sharing me on this . sorry idont have any one on college but in our naturale life they dont leave us or leave the home we have contact with thime all time and sharing every thing the good and the bad . and give thm advice in every thing if they like they will take our advice or they will have an ideas from it .

User - posted on 03/29/2009

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I have been an empty nester since 2006. I cried for what seems like forever, I dreaded going home to an empty house after work so I took a seasonal evening job for a few months. I still cry on occassion but it does get easier, time is the only thing that will help, and stay busy with things you enjoy doing.

Joetta - posted on 01/13/2009

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Cell phones and emails are an answer to a prayer for Mothers. In my day, I could call long distance once a week to talk to my parents. Now, you can talk to them several times a day, still give them advise on what to wear, find out about the new and exciting things they are doing, etc. It will be an adjustment, but I think you'll find that it won't be as traumatic as you think. After the first Christmas vacation home, you'll find a little twinge inside that wonders when they're going back. :)

Lisa - posted on 01/13/2009

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I have one in kindergarten and one in college.  It is difficult on both ends of the spectrum.  We will be fine....just remember God will never put more on us than we can handle. :)

Lori - posted on 01/12/2009

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Joetta stole my line! My two stepkids both graduated from college last month. My stepdaughter is here now... They come back -- again and again and again. The difference is, you can talk to them now.

Laurie - posted on 01/12/2009

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Lisa, I've had two boys who have moved away to college and our last child, our daughter, will move next fall.  I have never had a hard time with them going as I look at it as an exciting time in their lives.  I remember how much fun I had moving away from home, meeting new people, and all the great times I had.  I look at it as the first steps of them growing into the adults they are meant to be.  Plus if your child is anything like mine were, eventually he will run out of clean clothes and he will be back for Mom to do laundry.  I am actually looking forward to some quiet time next fall when my husband and I become empty nesters.  Good luck with your son's move to college.  He will love it!

Shelly - posted on 01/12/2009

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Hi Lisa,

I know it is hard!!!! I have two girls in college and my son will be going in the fall too. My girls are about an hour away so that helps but the first year I didn't hear from them unless they needed something. It has been hard but it has been good for them and when they come home they appreciate me soooo much more.

Melissa - posted on 01/12/2009

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Hi! I can't imagine being in your position! I am knee deep in diapers, spills and sticky hand prints. I have 3 little ones who are 4 1/2, 3 and 19 months. We are from Arkansas but moved far from home for my husband's job and I would give anything for a seasoned mom to walk through life with. If you have any young mothers in your church or neighborhood I am sure they would appreciate someone taking time to pour into their lives a little. I would love to have someone close to talk to who has a more flexible schedule than I. It would be nice for someone to come over during nap time and have a cup of coffee or tea with me! I am sure this new phase of life is going to be difficult but maybe you can find a way to minister to someone else and be encouraged as well!
I graduated from college in 2002 and some of my favorite things that my mom and other moms did was send care packages. There is nothing like your mom's homemade cookies, special card or a gift certificate to a restaurant! Maybe you can spend some time coming up with some fun, creative ideas to encourage him during his time away. Goodies are always a welcome treat during exam weeks too!
Hopefully this will be a very special time of growth for both of you! Bless you!!

Lisa - posted on 01/12/2009

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Wow everyone has been so helpful. I truly appreciate everyone taking the time to offer me all of these great suggestions.

Katherine - posted on 01/12/2009

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Start a hobbie you have always wanted to do. I learned to knit it helped me think about other things and took my mind of the empty nest. Have a party for you enjoy your time.I am sure he will be calling.

Lisa - posted on 01/12/2009

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My daughter is a Sophomor.  We live in Kansas and she is in Arkansas (7hours).  I cried leading up to taking her and during the get settled weekend.  With cell phones, IM, and facebook it seems like we are barely that far apart.  It gets better once you feel like they are really ok.

Andrea - posted on 01/12/2009

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My daughter left in Aug, she is 3 hours away but sometimes that feels like 30 hours....You have to tell yourself, that they are growing up and becoming the person that you have been raising all this time...You will miss them and they will miss you but this is what you want for them...The tears will come but they need this independence to test the waters..be proud!!

Kelly - posted on 01/12/2009

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Lisa, I am interested to read these responses also. My oldest will be a senior in high school next year and I already dread the letting go of college also. I am glad to hear of others who feel the same emotions when these big changes occur. Because of the ages of my kids, I had a first year of high school, then a first year of kindergarten, then another first year of high school. Then nothing for a couple of years, and then it will be a first year of college, then (the last) first year of kindergarten, then another first year of college. Our elementary school is K-8th grade, so we had a daughter "graduate" kindergarten in the same ceremony as her brother "graduated" eighth grade. At our school, every year in this ceremony the kindergarteners have a "good bye and so long" song they sing to the eighth graders. You can imagine what a mess I was while my daughter sang this to my son! And at the end they line up and walk out together, one kindergartener holding hands with one eighth grader. Of course my two walked out together, all dressed up in Sunday best. My friends laugh at me, but these are the parts of life that tug on the heartstrings! Anyway, I know we will all survive the changes that come (even you, with your son moving into the next phase of his life). Just rememer all the other wonderful milestones he has come through in life, and look forward to what comes next!

Jan - posted on 01/12/2009

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Lisa, My second and last is a freshman this year and it was the hardest.  I really found that saying goodbye little by little helped. It sounds strange but I said goodbye to H.S. at the end of each event. In the end I saw her walk across campus and there was a young woman. You may be ready when you realize HE is ready. You don't stop parenting when they go, in some ways it's better parenting from a distance because they come to you. You will be surprised how often he will too:).  Just be there when he needs you and know your role is far from over. Be involved but don't hover, take your cues from him. The last year of H.S. and preparing for college is harder than the new road your about to take. The rides really pretty good... just hang in there.

Lisa - posted on 01/12/2009

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Thank you to everyone. I will take a bit from each of your responses in helping me deal with this new direction of our lives. He is going to Italy in February with school for 10 days so I think I am working through that also. I said to my Mom a few weeks ago.....Michael is independent, but sometimes I still see him as that little boy. I think as Mom's we don't want to lose that sense of them needing us. But from what I hear they will always need us. I am 42 and my Mom is my best friend. Thanks again ladies and I appreciate all of you responses and support.

Chela - posted on 01/12/2009

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hey Lisa i underdstand completely, let yourself feel the sadness for a little while thats a natural occurence, we have spent their wholes lives being mom, when they leave it feels like theres nothing else, i suggest starting a hobbie, you will have the time now for yourself. maybe start putting his pictures in scapebooks enjoy it and when he comes home there is something special to give him. good luck

GiGi - posted on 01/12/2009

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Hey Lisa, I feel your tears. For me it was a daughter and althought I was so sure she couldn't do this without me, not only did she, but she learned how to make some pretty awesome decisions.  The biggest hangup that I had was letting go. When I began letting go, I realized that they don't let go. They call REGULARLY. If close enough they come home REGULARLY, lol. I really thought it would be the end of my world when my sons went to the Navy, but again, if we let go, they will grow up. My advice to you is to let the tears flow when you need to, and KNOW that you did a great job as a Mom and now you get to see what you worked so hard to do in action.  They don't always do what they know to do right away, but they eventually admit that Mom was right. Best wishes to you.

Pati - posted on 01/12/2009

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I am in the same boat as you, my daughter will be heading off fall 09 possibly to texas and as much as I keep telling myself that it is the start of a new chapter for us both I am feeling a little lost. I have always been there for her and Im not sure if I am more worried about how she will do with out me, or how I will do without her.  I was just thinking about posting something to find other moms with seniors to talk about it all as the day approaches. 

Lisa - posted on 01/12/2009

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Thank you so much I appreciate the advice. I thought kindergarten graduation was difficult. I am going to take that approach that it's really not so life changing, just different. I will remember that as I take him to college. Thanks again.



Lisa

Madelyn - posted on 01/12/2009

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I have two in college myself, one just finishing in May and the other just started in Sept. They both live at home, but I would've gladly sent them anywhere just to give them some independence. I was supporting myself and living on my own at 22. My kids still ask me what to where to family functions. Enjoy this opportunity to teach your kids how to rely on themselves. It'll do them a world of good.

Joetta - posted on 01/12/2009

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Lisa, I've sent two to college, and it's really not the end of the world. They come back, often, and sometimes back to stay for awhile depending on their current circumstances.
Basically they're, and you're, starting a new chapter of their lives, and you'll get to be great observer. It's fun to see their new interests, friends, etc. Sometimes they'll want you to participate in their college activities, and sometimes they won't. It's okay. This is a time when they're preparing for adulthood, and you will love the person they become. When they left elementary school, it was a new chapter. This one is different, because they won't be living at home, but you'll be surprised at how they'll miss their life as it is now. Try hard to be supportive and involved. One suggestion, and one that works. When you drive away, after leaving them, do not look in the rear view mirror, and do not look back. Be excited for them and yourself. Now that mine are out, I realize that it really is not so life changing, just different. Good luck,

Joetta

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