Guest post by Sherri Maat
Do you know a friend who is sending a child to college for the first time? Here is the story of when my eldest departed, and the lessons I learned about how to help someone else through this huge life transition.
I love my role as a mom to two young adults. Being a mom is a privilege, entrusted to me by God to nurture tiny, helpless human beings into independent, unique individuals.
As any mom knows, parenting is not easy by any means! Each season of my kids’ life has brought with it significant challenges—for my boys and me. I’ve discovered that “kid transitions” are especially difficult with your eldest child because each new experience is uncharted territory for both of you.
For example, when I dropped my eldest son Hunter off at kindergarten, I cried all day long. Or, when Hunter got on the wrong bus and they told me he was “temporarily misplaced.” I was hysterical. (And really, with that sort of news, what mom wouldn’t be?) Then there was the day Hunter got his driver’s license and I watched him drive off in the car without me. “Terrified” comes to mind when I reflect on that particular life event.
Of the many “firsts” that Hunter and I have lived together as eldest child and mother, one of the hardest for me was sending him off to college for the first time. I wasn’t prepared for the roller coaster of emotions I would experience. Hunter had been around for 18 years and I couldn’t remember life without him in the house. Hunter didn’t make it easy for me either by selecting a college that was on the opposite side of the United States from our Midwestern home. Really, why Arizona!?! There would be no weekend visits and no way to quickly show up and help him if needed.
I was excited for Hunter and proud of him for taking on this adventure full throttle. At the same time, I felt like my heart was breaking. There was a deep ache inside me that I could not soothe.
How did I make it through this transition and find a new rhythm without Hunter under the same roof? The answer is simple: with the support of my friends, coworkers and family.
If you know someone who will be sending their child off to college for the first time this August, here are some suggestions on how you can help care for them:
One of the most overlooked joys of parenting is the wisdom we can pass on to parents who come along after us. Consider using a few of these ideas to care for a mom who is about to send her eldest off to college for the first time. Your words of wisdom will help soothe that ache so many feel when the eldest departs the nest for the first time.
About the author: Sherri Maat is a wife, mom of two, and lives in Michigan.
For more resources, visit out page, Back to School: How to Care Well.