Works For Me – Changes

 *update, below* 

This is harder than I thought it would be, this sending a child off to college, out into the world.

Going days without seeing her face.

 Counting plates over and over at dinnertime, never sure if I actually got it right this time.

Trying to email or call enough to be ‘there’, but not so much as to interfere with this new life she is making for herself.

Hoping she is really doing as well as she seems to be. Hoping the moments of loneliness she must be facing are not too frequent or too overwhelming.

And already feeling the change in our lives. I straightened the living room before she came home, for heaven’s sake. Like she was company. (though not to impress, more to help her weekend feel serene…)

With her gone our family feels off kilter.  I’m already sick of people asking how it feels to have her gone.  I dwell enough on it myself, without everyone reminding me.

Many moments of the day are fine, I must admit.  Though always feeling this gap in our ranks, we are mostly getting along OK.  And having her home this weekend was precious.  I have a new understanding of the blissful smile on my mother’s face when ALL my siblings make it home for Christmas.

I am so proud of her.  I so much want to bravely shoo her off on this adventure so she can unreservedly and joyfully take this opportunity she has worked so hard for.  I don’t want to be a damp clutchy mushball.

But there are moments each day that ache.

So I just have to hold on to the advice that I have given other people.  In the past it’s been a mom with a new baby, or a family adjusting to a newly adopted child, or a new homeschooling mom. 

 But now it’s me, dealing with all the newness of this and so I am giving this advice to myself. And to my precious daughter.

“Get through the first month.  The first month is always the toughest.  After you get through that, things will feel more natural, you’ll get your rhythm, you’ll start to realize you can do this after all.   Don’t panic now, while it’s all so strange.   Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Keep praying.  Trust God.  And give yourself the gift of time.  You’ll make it.”

 I’ll let you know (say, along about October) if this advice works for me.

Update, written in the morning:

Funny how a good nights’ sleep and an email from my daughter can put it all in perspective.  

Turns out her college choir is absolutely awesome– she was over the moon with delight when she emailed me about it last evening. She has a wonderful professor with a passion for music –AND a teaching style similar to her much loved high school choir director.  This is why we’re doing this — to give her a chance to learn and grow and experience life.  

Yeah, I miss her.   But if she learns and thrives while away (and keeps emailing me along the way!) then that makes it all worth while. 

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  1. I can see how that first month would be tough! You'll get through this. Hang in there and, as you say, keep praying!

    I’ve posted a WFMW tip as well, involving instructions on creating blogger categories. Please stop by and take a peek. 🙂

  2. Give it time, you'll get more used to after awhile—it will eventually feel more "normal"—but quite honestly, as a mom of 9, with two adult children living on their own for quite some time now, I *still* hate to see them go and I still worry and fret about them and pray for them every single day. I always feel a bit of a void when they leave after a visit…but we have also gained a sweeter friendship, a genuine friendship…they often call me just to chat…and it is so sweet and it warms my heart! The hardest will be when our *youngest* leaves home, and we have an 'empty-nest'…that's not for several years yet thankfully, and hopefully we'll have lots of grandkids to keep us busy by then. Hang in there, Mary…it's tough and it's okay to feel this way…I cried lots and lots and sometimes I still do…we moms can do that, ya know! (I feel bad for those moms who can't wait till their kids leave home…and likewise for those moms who won't let their kids spread their wings…) Hugs to you!

  3. I'm so sorry you're sad right now. You re such a great Mom. It shows through every time you write about your kiddos. You have done a great job preparing your BIG girl for this time in her life. She will flourish, shine and make you proud! I promise not to ask how you're doing, because change stinks! You and your family are in my prayers during this time of transition. Please be sure to keep us updated. 8^)

  4. It's okay if you're sad right now, Mary. Just give it some time, just like you wrote at the end of this beautiful post. I really hope that works for both of you…

    Is she the one you wrote in your wedding anniversary post – in which I chose you as the Blog of the Week?

    I'm sure that she misses you a lot, every minute… just like I did when I started my first days in university :). I missed my mom so much. I still.. So, don't worry, mama… :).


  5. With two in college, I can say a hearty Amen. 🙂 Neither have left the nest totally to go out on their own yet — I'm not looking forward to that, but I think these college days help get us ready for it.

  6. I can so relate to this. My daughter left home in late June to join a ballet company. This has been her dream since she was 3 so we are so happy for her that it has worked out for her. At the same time, I really can't believe she isn't here with us any more! I miss her so much, but more than that, I miss the wholeness of our family. I am keeping you and all the others who have let a child go this year in my thoughts and prayers right now.

  7. And I thought first grade was hard!?!? Eeek! I can't imagine. Blessings and peace as you adjust! Amy

  8. ((Hugs))

    Positive self-talk is a good thing. My WFMW was inspired by one of your posts. Hope you'll come and see —

  9. what helps me is thinking about how this is really what I want for her, and she is happy. Being a mom is putting them first and this is just that, only with a little unexpected loneliness even in the middle of chaos for the mom who is watching her baby fly.

  10. Oh, this makes my heart ache. I don't want them to ever leave the nest! How will I survive???

  11. Wise, wise words Mary, mom to a college girl. God will get you through this sadness and it's my guess that come Thanksgiving she will be so completely ready to be back in the house, you both will feel the warmth that is obviously there between you.

    Blessings to you!

  12. It'd be silly for me to say I understand what you are going through… because I do not. Both of my children are still home with me. BUT, I can honestly say my heart is going out to you! Hang in there friend!!

  13. Hugs. I can imagine it in my future, so I do get a glimmer of how hard it must be. The reality must be 100X worse.

    They will just always be our little babies, you know?

  14. "Trying to email or call enough to be ‘there’, but not so much as to interfere with this new life she is making for herself." You're a GREAT mom with a great attitude. I know it's probably hard to let go, but you're giving her wings.

  15. I just stumbled upon your blog and had to comment. My son is a senior in high school this year and I already started missing him. I'm already starting to feel the ache that you wrote about and school just started! I'll take your advice starting now and maybe I"ll make it through till graduation day. I hope your daughter does well with her studies!

  16. They really are our babies forever. I have two in college right now, but one still lives at home (at least 8 hours a night), and one overseas in a dangerous area doing mission work. My day is always complete when I get an email. I am so grateful for the technology that we have, that so many in the past have not enjoyed – that we can communicate easily and quickly as often as it is convenient. My fear at the moment is that I can smother my remaining son with all the attention that I used to give to four kids. I still miscount the plates (partly because it seems there is a different number at dinner everyday). You really will adjust.

  17. That's the same exact advice my mom gave ME, when I was the college freshman and dying from homesickness. It was true then, and hopefully it'll be true for you, too. 🙂

  18. "I don’t want to be a damp clutchy mushball." Well spoken. That describes how we feel, the trick is not showing it. Sounds like you're doing great, and she is too. I wont' ask how youre doing.

  19. This is such an honest, heartfelt post …I have a feeling I will feel much the same way as you do when the times come.
    I'm so glad, though, that she is doing so well! That says a lot for you!

  20. My dear dear niece- the first grandchild- went off to college yesterday- It's just amazing to read what you are going through and talking with my sister who is going through it too and how bittersweet the whole thing is…how really good it is- but so sad to see them move onto the next season of their lives. My oldest is 13 – so I have a few years before I do this- I am keeping you and your family in my prayers.