12 Signs Your Kid Is Leaving for College and You're Totally Losing It
If you’re a parent with a soon-to-be college freshman, the back-to-school season may just be your most intense yet.
For example, the school supply list just became the dorm supply list. The other kids in their class just became the roommates who will live with your kid every single night and day.
And don’t even get me started on the bills.
Perhaps most challenging of it all, these are the last weeks before your baby flies the nest, and i
Here’s a checklist of symptoms in case you’re wondering. The good news? You’re not alone!
- You torment yourself by starting a mental countdown of the weeks and days until they leave (as if it’s an execution date or something).
- Random things make you burst into tears: their childhood photos, a stack of empty boxes and packing tape outside their room, their dirty cereal bowl left on the counter…the first glance at their tuition bill.
- You find yourself lurking in a dark corner of their bedroom watching them sleep.
- You try to convince the HR department at work that you need time off for Family Medical Leave because you’re paralyzed with grief thinking about your kid leaving for college. (They decline Family Medical Leave, so you ask if Bereavement Leave covers college departure. Because it should, for reals.)
- You start planning college care packages before they’ve even left. (And you learn about SoulFeed care packages which nurture the heart and soul of the college student and parents. Which makes you cry. With happiness.)
- Your nesting instinct goes into overdrive and you realize you’ve spent more on dorm room essentials than on an entire semester of college room & board.
- You get super clingy and follow your kid around the house asking to hang out with them every waking moment of the day.
- You buy them a month’s worth of brand-new underwear and socks.
- You offer heartfelt hugs in solidarity with random strangers in the check-out aisle at Target upon noticing that they, too, are a weepy-eyed mothers with carts full of color-coordinated hangers, room organizers, hand sanitizer, an obscene amounts of socks and underwear.
- You Facebook-stalk your kid’s college roommate trying to determine if there’s any possibility this space-sharing stranger could be a sex-crazed, kleptomaniac, nocturnal, meth-cooking psychopath with poor hygiene or bad study habits.
- You reserve a U-haul truck for college drop-off because the loot from that 4th trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond barely fit in the car.
- You drink a bottle of wine one night while looking through decades of old photos—including ones from your own college days—and wonder how all of these glorious years went by so fast and you could possibly be this old. And then you realize the age you somehow thought you still were is the age your kid has now become.
And you begin to embrace the process of truly letting them go.
After all, this season is not about your time that’s ending; it’s about their time that’s just beginning.
So, dear parent–though it may feel like sending them off to college is the final curtain call of parenthood, I promise you that it’s not.
In truth, your influence is perhaps going to become even more important during these upcoming years.
Your son or daughter is entering into one of the most spiritually and personally formative times in their life, and they’re going to need your wisdom, support and love more than ever.
And once they walk out that door for the real world, they’ll actually seek your advice instead of snarling at it.
So grab the Kleenex, pack the boxes, pay the bills, and start planning for all of the new ways to stay connected while your kid ventures into this exciting time.
And keep reminding yourself that for everyone, the best is yet to come.
by Kami Gilmour
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