“Whoever said it first spoke with insight and wisdom: you don’t own children, you only borrow them.” ~Anne Linn
Over the weekend with a van full of furniture and personal belongings we dropped my eldest daughter, Daniella, off at college. I remember last year’s drop-off vividly, seeing her dorm room, helping her get a wee bit set up before heading back to the city, I kept telling myself, “It’s just like summer camp … she will be back in no time.” I got a little weepy in the car ride home, and wandered around the apartment taking her in and noticing her absence. And she was back in no time … more worldly, better versed with an open mind and heart, I relished any time we had throughout the year.
But somehow this year hit me a little harder. Although we have one year under our belts, this year seemed, for me, dramatic. Why? Her first home on her own. We dropped her off at a little house that she is renting with two friends. Her excitement was palpable and while I was beaming with pride for raising such an amazing young woman, something inside of me was saying, “Oh, this is too fast. Please stay my little girl.”
The mom in me wanted to protect her; the health coach in me wanted to remind her that every single “healthy” choice is connected. In the end I only said, “Remember your street self-defense. Remember to be aware. And if it’s dark and you are walking alone, walk in the street rather than the sidewalk.” Perhaps that’s actually the protection and the healthy choices all wrapped into one!
Sitting in the car on the way home it hit me. My younger daughter would be going to college this time next year too.
Ouch! Yes, tears.
So here’s the deal … it’s okay to grieve.
Turn to self-care — get a massage, exercise, take a walk in the park
Lighten your workload for a few days
Treat yourself to something you love to do — have lunch with a friend
Clean your college child’s room — yes, really!
And resist the urge to send loads of text messages and emails. A check-in … okay. But unloading your grief on your child … not okay.
And then celebrate! Your child is in college! and you have played a huge part in him/her reaching that point.
As Denis Waitley said, “The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”