Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital. We wish we would have kept track of the number of games we have watched, sicknesses we have nursed you through, sibling squabbles we have helped resolved and prayers we have prayed over you these last 18 years. The tension is always hard to navigate; we have poured all of us into parenting you because you are our boy but we’ve always known you belong to a God that loves you even more than we do! How can that be? But tonight as I write this, there is actually comfort in that thought.
We know time is short. But during those last few spontaneous late night talks, or alone with them in the car or during a breakfast together; here are 5 conversations you must have with your graduate before they “fly the nest”:
- Things will never be the same; and that’s a good thing. It’s how it is supposed to be; hard for us moms, but important to embrace. We talk about transitioning from asking permission to awareness of common courtesy. Things like borrowing the car, doing some chores, and coming home late etc. while home on break need to be discussed before they are home for their first break from school.
- Declare who you are during the first two weeks. Ask your young adult if they have thought about what kind of a man or woman they are going to be at school. They will have an opportunity to reinvent themselves; after all no one knows them, they can be anyone! They will be quickly exposed to all kinds of things. They will be in charge of their time, spiritual, physical, relational and academic life. I won’t be there to tell them what to do. It is a great thing for them to ponder before arriving on campus. They literally get to declare or start over with who they want to become.
- We the parents have not been perfect or comprehensive. There will be misses you will notice now that you are away from us and trying to live life on your own. You may feel ill prepared or frustrated you have not been taught some things. It is ok. Please know we did the best we could with what we knew. There is someone who knows you and loves you more than us; He is a perfect parent. He will get you through the hard times.
- Remind them of healthy coping skills. Somehow students forget what to do when life gets hard. Ask your young adult how they plan to manage themselves when life gets stressful. Share a story or two from your early years and how you coped. Give them a game plan and make sure they know it can always include a phone call home for support and counsel.
- Reaffirm that they never have to stand alone. When our young adults go away, the stress hits and they feel really isolated and alone. It is important they know God and their parents are always there. Also, we believe in them and think they are smart enough to figure all this out!!
Son, even though you are my 7th to leave home, it is still hard. You will leave a big hole in our family. Now I have to remember what your father and I have taught you… God will care for those who follow Him! I love you and I’m so glad you are mine ~ mom