"As the latest wave of superinvolved parents delivers its children to college, institutions are building into the day, normally one of high emotion, activities meant to punctuate and speed the separation. It is part of an increasingly complex process, in the age of Skype and twice-daily texts home, in which colleges are urging “Velcro parents” to back off so students can develop independence."
Thank you for the article Lee. Sorry for the lengthy comment.
My only son has been off at college 2 full years now, so time has given me perspective and softened the memories of that separation. I wish I'd read some sort of guide on what to expect in the way of the separation and my emotions. But we were so busy being excited on college visits, acceptances, decisions, shopping, and preparing him for college, I forgot to prepare me for college. I never stopped to dream up what my life would be like after he left, or to pray for grace to move through the process bravely. On move-in day, after we all set up his room (all the freshmen families were doing it at this college), it was a kiss and a hug and he was off to attend some welcome activity. He was full of excitement for the future that lay ahead, just as he should have been. I was excited too, until he walked away and disappeared into the crowd. I kept it together until we got out of town, and then the feelings began to pour out. I remember being kind of weepy and numb for a few weeks. It felt like a loss. While he was adjusting to his new life, I was adjusting to mine. I had to learn to deal with the quiet at home, cooking less, the empty room, and not having him there to talk with or hug any time. It's hard, especially when you and your children are close. I missed mothering. I missed homeschooling. It was like I had just been retired from a job that I loved.
What evolved over time was a new kind of life for both of us. While he was joining clubs and learning the in's and out's of college life, I found the time and opportunity to do some new activities I'd been putting off. I took some classes and renewed some friendships that had waned. Getting to this new "normal" didn't happen overnight, but it did happen. Now, two years later, he calls most nights, just to check in on us and share his day. I celebrate his triumphs and listen closely when he shares a difficulty. He figures things out just fine with the skills he learned in his childhood. But knowing that he's making his way in the world reaffirms the good job I did.
While I'm not big on negative labels like velcro mom, dragon mom, helicopter mom, I am looking forward to some of the labels that will be coming soon enough, like: the graduate's mother, mother of the groom, mother-in-law and grandma! Now those are labels I like.
BTW, one of our favorite books was Blake Mykowskie's Start Something that Matters, about social entrepreneurship.
I think we all feel a bitter sweet mix of sadness and victory when our children graduate. I love the idea of looking forward to those next "labels"! Thank you for sharing!
Assistant to The HomeScholar
Thank you for this article today. You've helped me through the high school years more than you could realize!!
I'm so glad you were encouraged! I have a packing list for college that might be helpful too
College Packing List
Thank you for this article. Having graduated the younger of my 2 daughters last month and completing 15 years of homeschooling, I had been thinking that I need to go ahead and discontinue my various email subscriptions, yahoo groups, blogs, etc. but I'm glad I hadn't yet unsubscribed to yours quite yet! Thank you for all the help you have been to me in homeschooling both my daughters through high school. The older one has done very well in her first 2 years of college (including being on President's List and Dean's List!) and I am trusting God will similarly grace her younger sister as she embarks on her college journey this fall. I am prepared to be a little sad with the "empty nest"; but like you, I am mostly happy and proud of them!
We also used and loved "Understanding the Times"
It's funny Lee, I still have four at home, and I got two dogs this year so I wouldn't feel so lonely! I would rather adopt kids...but hubby needs to be on board for that!
So timely, Lee, as a Yahoo homeschool group I belong to has had a very popular thread going on "homeschool moms put out to pasture" about what it will be like when the kids leave home. What were your favorite books for preparing the kids with a solid worldview (besides the Bible, the best book, of course!). I remember seeing Don't Check your Brain at the Door and I Kissed Dating Goodbye on your booklist...got any other favorites?
Thanks again for every one of your articles...they're SO helpful!
Watch out for community college too! You might want to look at this article: http://www.thehomescholar.com/community-college-fad.php. Just keep your eyes wide open when comparing your options
Great post! Gosh, what an unfriendly article by the New York Times. I'm thinking it might be better to have my kids do community college. When they go wherever to finish up, they will by then be full-on adults and we should have our "detaching" and adult relationships in place. I understand the colleges' need to get on with school, but their approach seems to place parents and children at odds right from the get-go.
Let's talk about college scholarships. Every family, that has a child going to college, wants them, but they seem to be so elusive! Let me introduce you to Lin and her