The day is creeping in, and no amount of stalling, crying, stomping, or pouting will slow it down. My baby, the sweet boy I gave birth to in a flash of eighteen years, will leave for college in one week. Let me repeat that for those of you who didn’t feel the weight of it. ONE. WEEK.
In one week, our lives will be forever changed. If you happen to see me and I look like a bad episode of a soap opera, it’s because I’ve probably been crying. If you are talking to me and my eyes suddenly look glassy and full, either hand me a tissue or hug me because the tears are coming.
And while I am FULL OF EMOTIONS (please clap as you say each word for emphasis), I want this. I’ve had quite a few friends ask if he would be coming home every weekend, as his college is only two hours away. And each time they ask, my response is the same – I hope not! Most of them look at me confused. So let me explain myself.
I am crying about my son leaving for college, but this is the way it is supposed to be. Baby birds eventually leave the nest. And college is just a small version of this. He will still come home occasionally for food, laundry, money, and Christmas gifts. I want him to go because I want him to experience all the things that college brings.
When I went to college, I learned that not everyone was like me. I have always attended public school, but most of my friends also went to church with me. My eyes were opened to all kinds of backgrounds – and that was a good thing. It made me thankful for mine, and helped me to embrace all people. I learned how to balance my time and be responsible for getting to class and turning in projects and papers. I learned how to say no to going out when I needed to study, and I learned the consequences of saying yes to going out and not studying.
I learned how to stretch my money and eat cheap. I learned how to get along with people I didn’t like. When I moved into an apartment for grad school, I learned how to grocery shop and cook. I learned how to pay the light bill and where to keep the thermostat. I learned I would grow in the areas I placed my time and energy. I learned how to eat alone and be okay with that.
So, I want my son to learn all those things and more. Yes, I’m crying. But I’m crying because I can’t believe he is eighteen. I’m crying because we have made it this far, and his daddy and I have kept him alive and successful. I’m teary because God has blessed us with such an amazing kid. I’m nostalgic thinking of all the fun times we’ve had as a family of five. I’m thinking of the days he spent skateboarding in the driveway and playing down the street at the neighbor’s house. I’m even thinking of the more recent days where he went to breakfast with his friends from high school. I’m thinking of the football games we have watched him play. I’m thinking of going to see him at his first job.
I’m thinking of all the times I’ve driven him to practice, to church, to buy shoes, to Bible study – all the conversations we’ve had in the car driving. I’m realizing all those conversations were about him processing life and what was happening in his. I’m realizing all that time was preparing him for now. His daddy and I have poured into him. We have tried to teach him right from wrong, how to greet someone, how to write a thank-you note, how to look someone in the eye, how to hold the door for someone behind you, how to treat a lady. And now it is time he go into the world and test his wings.
So, yes, I’m crying about my son leaving for college. But I want him to go. I know this is the way of things. I’m also crying tears of happiness and excitement, because I can’t wait to see where God will take him. So if you see me, don’t worry if I cry. Just hug me and smile and say, “Good job, mama.” We are all going to be okay.