|The Blythe Kids!!|
This fall, I will have successfully moved three kids to college. Our oldest will be a senior in college this year, but when she moved to the dormitory the first time it was an exciting time, albeit a bit sad for me and the rest of the family left at home. Deep down, I knew that things were going to change in our relationship, but I knew that she was excited about growing up and being on her own.
I remember those days when I was packing up and heading to the dorm to be "a mature adult." Was I ready to be on my own? Was I mature enough to handle the pressures of adulthood? Was I prepared to make good decisions? ....NO! But I certainly thought I was ready!
|My newest college freshman!|
What are those skills you ask? Well...they are different for each child. From learning to do your own laundry to organizing your planner, and from learning to take time for yourself to applying yourself a bit more to classes you don't like but have to take--the skills they need are basically survival skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.
The sadness I felt when moving my child to their home away from home has nothing to do with regrets--it is more of the change in parenting roles. I also question the job we did--Have we done the right thing in every circumstance? Is she/he really prepared for this? Am I prepared for the changes coming? Although I was sad when we moved our oldest to the dorm, I tried very hard not to cry as we hauled box after box of her precious things to her room. I smiled and laughed as we filled every inch of floor space with what seemed like way too much stuff for the room. As we hugged when it was time to go, I told her I love her and was proud of her...and walked away smiling. Of course the tears came later (I do cry very easily--just ask the kids) but I didn't want that day to be one of sadness. She was so excited--why should I be sad?
A couple of years later when we moved her sister into the same dorm, I felt many of the same concerns. Was she ready? Had we done a good job teaching her the important things? Would she remember what we taught her as the tough decisions came up? But I also knew that this was a wonderful time for her and I kept the tears at bay until I was alone later.
|When the girls left for kindergarten, my son wanted to play dress-up like they do! He gave me permission to use this photo in public!|
But I know that he will be prepared! He and his sisters are great kids and they have grown up knowing the value of hard work, responsibility and truthfulness. They work hard--and play hard! I know he will be fine. Yes, I'll miss the boy he once was--he was a snuggly, sweet little guy--but I rejoice in the man he has become.
I have to admit, that even though I do like babies and I'm the first one in line to hold and snuggle any new babies I see, I do also love the independent, competent beings that my children have become. Having adult kids is really cool! So to my friends who are learning this new form of parenting...remember to celebrate the people you have raised and congratulate yourself on the wonderful job you have done. But, also remember, if they come home every weekend, they are NOT getting the most out of college. Make them stay and get involved in clubs and groups so that they do expand their friend-circle and learn from others!
I tell my kids to come home when they want to--they are always missed and welcome, but I want them to come home because they miss us, not because they feel guilty. I have given you wings--now use them! Remember that the mama bird loves you deeply and wants you to be happy!