We had the new and unfamiliar experience this fall of sending two children off to college. That is half the children that usually live in our home. Out the door and off to college.
I will say we are lucky that our kids chose to stay in state, and while at different colleges they are living in the same city just over two hours away. This gives my mama heart peace. Knowing they can help each other out if needed. It could have been so much more difficult. My heart aches for the parents who have to kiss their kids goodbye before sending them on an airplane across the country.
Mine are close by. But they aren’t here. I can’t walk into their rooms and see them wrapped in blankets trying to get just five more minutes of sleep. Can’t call their name and hear a response without first dialing the phone. And it is so bittersweet. They are both blossoming into these amazing, independent adults. It is heartwarming to watch. It is encouraging to know that we must have done something right. They turned out to be good people. Which might speak more to who they are than how we parented. I think we made a lot of mistakes. And in the end they turned out ok. And I feel like God has been speaking to my heart so much lately about it not needing to be perfect. And that includes parenting. There is no such thing as a perfect parent (that distinction is saved for God alone). There are no perfect kids. Just a whole lotta people trying their best to get it as right as possible.
And in the end, it mostly just works out. It didn’t matter that we sometimes completely forgot about bedtimes until they had stayed up way too late, or that I occasionally let them have chocolate cake or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. It didn’t matter that homework was often done while lounging in bed or on the couch instead of at a desk. Even though we weren’t very consistent with chores or reading lists they turned out to be amazing people.
And so my advice for the mamas and daddies out there (my husband and I included – we still have two at home) is to just enjoy your children. They really weren’t kidding when they said you would blink and they would go from toddlers to teenagers. It happened so fast. Take pictures to remember it all, but not so many that all your kids see is your face behind a camera or your phone. Forget about bedtimes (sometimes) eat cookies for breakfast (sometimes). Laugh as much as possible. Make memories. Because you’re going to blink and they are going to be heading off to college. And they are going to be these incredible people who are going to change the world. And you’re going to hate that they’re gone but you’re going to love what they’re doing.