It seems like all of life is change, doesn’t it? And change can sometimes feel terrible, but it is also great because when things are happening that we don’t like that means things will eventually change!
Little changes, like your favorite restaurant changing their menu, don’t require much recalibrating. But big changes, like a child going off to college, can require major calibration.
My Child is Leaving for College
I am preparing to send my eldest child off to college in 12 days. She and I have a close relationship – somehow we missed that “I hate you” phase that people always tried to warn me about. I am grateful for the warmth between us.
I gave her more and more agency for herself as her senior year progressed. This summer, that has continued. Some days I don’t know where she is all day long. And part of me panics, like, “Shouldn’t I know where she is?” But the other part of me says this is what we have been working toward. She is 18, she takes care of her responsibilities, and now, GULP, she is ready to leave my house.
She is only going an hour away to college, but the distance does not matter when I consider that she will not be under my roof every night. I have been thinking about all the things that will change when she leaves. Household duties will shift from four to three. I’ll be the only female with two sons left at home. There will be no more bedtime cuddling with her. And most days I will have no idea what my daughter is doing or who she is with.
Grief and Loss When Children Leave
I’ve been grieving those changes. No matter what fun things are happening this summer, there is a tinge of sadness present that dampens my mood just a little. I have been tending to my grief by utilizing my go-to self-care activities, spending time with friends, traveling because it fills my soul, and exercising because I need endorphins. Most importantly, I have been talking gently to myself, saying things like, “Of course you’re sad. How could you not be?” and, “You are allowed to feel sad.” Acknowledging that this is a time of huge transition and that all of my feelings about it are okay is the best self-care I can think of.
A quick google search of “child leaving for college” auto-populated with the word “depression” at the end of my search. Clearly, this is a huge issue for many parents. One of the articles is titled, “How to Survive When Your Child Goes Off to College.” That’s a pretty strong title and an indicator that a lot of parents feel on some level as if they might die when their child leaves. I try not to anticipate how I will feel after I drop my daughter off and say that college-drop off good-bye, the one that really says, “You’re all grown up! You will do great, and your heart will break, and you will laugh and cry and scream. Please come home for the holidays. Call me. Lastly, I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love you.”
I know I have the tools to get myself back to harmony if I get too far from the center. If you are struggling with a life transition, and you need help finding your harmonious center, schedule an appointment with me today and let me support you!