That fateful day has arrived. The day every parent dreads or can't wait for. It's time for me to learn the art of letting go as my first baby heads out on his own for his first day at college.
When you hold your first born child for the first time, you don't think about the day they are going to leave home. 18 years ago we welcomed our first baby boy into our life. What a journey that started for us.
Nothing can describe the immense love and joy we had as we stared down into that tiny face. Those cute chubby cheeks made the nine months of pregnancy and the c-section all worth it.
As new parents, we had absolutely no idea what we were doing those first few days. That poor sweet child was our guinea pig as we figured out this thing called parenting. If he cried and nothing worked, we would feed him again. Only that usually resulted in him spitting it all back up on us. The nurses had made it seem so easy while we were in the hospital.
After just a few short months it became clear that our little boy was not much of a snuggler. He loved being in the pack-n-play or on the floor. Even as a baby he was fiercely independent, as long as he had his blankie. I would try to hide it in his crib, but when he learned to crawl and walk he would always manage to sneak in and find it.
My favorite time was bed time because he would actually snuggle with me as I sang him songs and said his bed time prayers.
After years of changing smelly diapers, kissing bumps and bruises, and encouraging that little boy to walk, he is all grown up and ready to fly. Where did the time go?
I seriously feel like it was just yesterday that he was taking his first steps! And here he is getting ready to start college. He is eagerly waiting to carry his belongings into a dorm and wave goodbye to his parents.
Dread and anxiety fills my heart as I wonder if he is ready. Or better yet...am I ready??? Can I let go?
As I sit here with tears in my eyes on the last night our boy will be with us, I'm filled with a mixture of emotions. I am sad because it doesn't seem possible that he is old enough to leave us already. Part of me looks back at the last 18 years with some regrets.
When the kids were little, I couldn't wait for the next stage in their life. I wish I had enjoyed those younger years more. Don't get me wrong. I loved every stage, but I know there were times I was impatient and couldn't wait for them to get bigger.
I am also excited because I do remember how fun my college days were, and I can't wait for him to experience it too. I'm looking forward to hearing all his stories of dorm and college life. Then part of me is filled with amazement because even with all the ways we messed up as parents over the years he turned out awesome. I know that definitely has more to do with God teaching him through us.
I am so very proud of the young man that he has become. He has grown up so much in the last year and a half. He has always been smart and level headed, even as a young teenager. I never worried about him, much any way. As a mom, you always worry about your kids because that just comes with the job.
He really matured even more after we moved to Texas a year and a half ago. This forced him to get out of his comfort zone as he attended a large public school and got his first real job. He learned to talk and communicate with customers, peers, and employers, and he did awesome!
Then earlier this year, he got on a plane by himself and headed out to check out a college that he was interested in. God has placed a new-found confidence in him, and he is doing things that are scary.
I am so impressed at how he was able to do that. Before we moved, all of these things would have terrified him. Quite honesty, I could learn a few things from his confidence and his ability to kick fear in the face.
As I think about all the things he has learned to do, I am mentally patting myself on the back. We did it. We invested two decades of our time, money, and love into teaching him everything we know. Now it is time to sit back, watch him as heads out on his own life journey, and pray every day.
I know that there will be many more tears in the next few days as I am "letting go" of my tight hold on this young man. But I also know that we have done our best to raise him with the Bible as our guide, and I know that God will be walking with him as he ventures out on his own. All I can do now is pray that he makes right choices, and that he keeps God at the center of his life.
Sure he is going to make some mistakes along the way. We all do, but that is part of growing up. Falling down and picking yourself back up is the best way to learn.
And as his parents, we will be right there to talk him through things when he comes asking for advice. We are also learning to transition from the parent to the friend. It's time to sit back and let him do his thing! No matter how hard that is.
Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.