Getting ready to let them go - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 05-20-2009, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello! My son is 17 and nearly done with his junior year in high school. He is already looking at colleges and looking foward to striking out on his own (well, not financially!)

Most of the time, I am looking forward to seeing his adult life begin as well but sometimes...

I picked my screen name because I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that this bird will fly. And I have no idea how to let him go. Since he was concieved, he's been my constant companion, certainly less and less as the years go by but to not live in the same house with him? To not hear his voice everyday? I know it's normal and I should want it to happen.

Here's where the tears start. Anyone else at this stage, been through it or getting ready? I don't know how to do this.
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#2 of 20 Old 05-20-2009, 09:04 PM
 
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Hugs to you! My oldest is graduating from high school on June 3rd, working full time all summer and then off to college in the Fall. All I can tell you is that when I was in your shoes last year, I was 90% sad and 10% excited for him. Over the course of this last year, it has slowly shifted to about 15% sad and 85% excited for him. The senior year is so full of growing up (and growing away) that it really helps the whole family through the transition. By the time those college acceptance letters rolled in, we were so thrilled for him! Of course we'll miss them, but we will get to continue to watch them become who they want to be, work hard for their dreams, and come on home with dirty laundry in tow! I do still get a bit teary-eyed occasionally, but he has grown, worked hard, and he is ready. I am thrilled for him. (I am not even attempting to pretend that I will not be a huge mess when we leave him in that dorm room...I'll just try to keep the wailing to a minimum until the car is out of his earshot!). The last year really does help you get ready, I promise!
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#3 of 20 Old 05-20-2009, 10:07 PM
 
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Letting Go : A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years
by Karen Levin Coburn , Madge Lawrence Treeger

This is a terrific book about letting go. A friend who had had a hard time with the transition recommended it to me when she knew my older son was getting ready for his senior year then college.

Yea, it's kind of a bittersweet time, but it is soooo exciting! I love seeing who my older son has become/is becoming. My younger son, too.

I don't always agree with them, I still worry, it's hard to watch them REALLY separating from us...but it's also wonderful.

I remember being that age and how exciting it all was...and now I have one son who has finished his sophmore year in college and the other will be starting highschool next year.

While they are striking out on their own, try to find some old interests you maybe set aside and take them up again or find something new that interests you! Take a class, find a new hobby, do something really indulgent that you never had time to do before while you were in the middle of heavy-duty parenting. It's also a time of change and renewal for you.


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#4 of 20 Old 05-20-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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P.S. Senior year is full of lasts...the last marching band performance, the last Christmas concert, the last school trip, the last end of season concert, the last fall break, etc. I got teary when we walked down the highschool gym floor and the students all gave the mom's a silk rose with the ribbons in the school colors. So cheezy, but I got choked up. Graduation was just surreal.

Then summer is busy and there is so much anticipation about what is coming.

Freshman year in college is full of firsts... totally new experiences for them and for the parents. Everyone is adapting and changing and yes, it's strange...they live somewhere else!

This summer is the first summer ds#1 won't be living at home. He got a job up at school. Will be in his first apartment.

It IS an emotional time, letting go.

But it's also incredibly rewarding to see them as adults. ADULTS. Just wow.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#5 of 20 Old 05-21-2009, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you both so much. You've no idea the weight you've lifted off my shoulders. I was feeling so stuck and alone.

And, I just ordered the book!

Thank you again.
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#6 of 20 Old 05-21-2009, 07:40 AM
 
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Hope you like the book and that it is helpful. You aren't alone and you won't be stuck.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#7 of 20 Old 05-24-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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Hi all. My son is going to be 20!! Wow time flies!! He is still at home, comuting to school, on the train. He has one more year of college and then he is talking about moving to........................Japan!!! I can't even begin to say how this floors me. I hope he is just "talking" cause I don't have one clue how I would begin to deal with him going SO far away. It does make me more open to the idea of another state tho! LOL maybe that is why he is "talking" about it.

Me personally, will never be ready for him to leave. I want him to live with me forever!! (wow, I am saddddddddd)
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#8 of 20 Old 05-25-2009, 02:43 AM
 
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Things to make you feel better (maybe):
He's lying when he says he's not scared.
He really does want care packages
He doesn't get along with his roommate that well
He's not partying that much

Tips:
Do not friend him on facebook. It will scare both of you.
He'll use it if you send it, but may not buy it himself - laundry soap, body soap, clean socks
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#9 of 20 Old 05-25-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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Subbing. I've got a bit to go- my son will be 14 next week, but I've been thinking alot about how fast it will go and I can't imagine not seeing and talking to my son every day. I still sneak in and check on him in the middle of the night if I'm awake- I joke about driving across town in the middle of the night to check on him when he moves out. And I think about my Mother- I only see her maybe 4 times a year, talk to her on the phone about once a week. I can't imagine that with my son. (Yeah, I know, I'm jumping ahead of myself.)

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#10 of 20 Old 05-26-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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Jumping ahead four years, if I may--a university near me holds commencement every year on Mother's Day. How spectacular is that?!!

When DC'ren come home from college to visit (holidays, etc.), you will sneak a peek where they are sleeping to see that they are safe and soundly sleeping like always. Most likely you may never let them know until much, much later in life. Once we develop our "mother's ears", they never go away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thisbirdwillfly View Post
Thank you both so much. You've no idea the weight you've lifted off my shoulders. I was feeling so stuck and alone.

And, I just ordered the book!

Thank you again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy View Post
Things to make you feel better (maybe):
He's lying when he says he's not scared.
He really does want care packages
He doesn't get along with his roommate that well
He's not partying that much
Tips:
Do not friend him on facebook. It will scare both of you.
He'll use it if you send it, but may not buy it himself - laundry soap, body soap, clean socks
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
Subbing. I've got a bit to go- my son will be 14 next week, but I've been thinking alot about how fast it will go and I can't imagine not seeing and talking to my son every day. I still sneak in and check on him in the middle of the night if I'm awake- I joke about driving across town in the middle of the night to check on him when he moves out. And I think about my Mother- I only see her maybe 4 times a year, talk to her on the phone about once a week. I can't imagine that with my son. (Yeah, I know, I'm jumping ahead of myself.)

"There is a special place in Hell for women who do not help other women." ~ Madeleine Albright, first woman U. S. Secretary of State.
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#11 of 20 Old 05-27-2009, 01:35 AM
 
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Im in the exact same boat! DS1 is 17 and finishing up his junior year in hs. Always talking about moving out, getting jobs, going to college. Sigh.

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#12 of 20 Old 05-27-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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I'm a college professor. You will be very surprised how much they still need you once they get to college. Cell phones, etc., have really changed the college experience. It is not at all unlikely that you will still be hearing their voice or at least getting their text messages every day.
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#13 of 20 Old 05-27-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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I have a twenty one year old, and he lives very far away. It's hard sometimes, but I am so proud of him at the same time. He has his bumps in the road, but still calls me when he needs a talk or help.
It's a scary and sometimes surprising road. But all your feelings are normal...hugs.
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#14 of 20 Old 05-30-2009, 09:49 AM
 
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I think it's sweet that you feel this way. My sister has a 17 y o that is about to graduate high school and she is ready for him to be done and can't wait to see him get out on his own and fail. He already told her he isn't going to college and wants to move out and work and make a life of his own and she doesn't give a darn either way. It's nice to hear from a parent that actually really cares and is sad to see their child leave home. I know I'll be the same way in a few years when my 14 y o is that age. I dread it!

Proud *single* mom to 3 amazing kiddos
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#15 of 20 Old 05-31-2009, 11:31 AM
 
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My son is at the same stage. Sure, it's somewhat bittersweet, but.... isn't this what we've raised them to do? Grow up and go out into the world, to build a life of their own.

It will be an adjustment, but I look forward to this next stage of his life. One I hope to share in on different terms than mother/child. As adults. It's very exciting, IMO.
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#16 of 20 Old 06-25-2009, 12:23 AM
 
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Just had to reply! I am with ya Mama! First baby left last year, now youngest DS leaves this year!!!! Oh gosh, the first time I have wished they werent so close in age. How can I possibly do this? It was less than a year ago that I drove DS1 across the country to school, and every little bit I would have to stop for a "potty break", which was really just an excuse when I needed to cry and call my sister. And NOW, again, but with a totally empty house. Is it helpful to crawl in kiddos bed and cry after they leave (or maybe before : ) ? I think so.

What was the point of all this time spent? The homeschooling? The becoming best friends? Seeing them become people of better judgement and character than myself, having them bring the joy, the wonder, the silliness, the thoughtfulness, the music, the noise, the chaos, the center of everyday...only to have them leave?! What were DH and I thinking?

And yet...
They are happy, whole, safe, unique, extraordinary people, with whom we will always have an incredible bond. They are exceptional because of who they are, not because of the parents we have been. But perhaps, just maybe, part of their stability is because of what we have provided, AND what we do not at all want to let go of.

I have to say, I AM getting it figured out. Each day I learn something new. I don't find it helpful when people tell me it is great. I don't find it helpful when people tell me now I can do all the stuff I have been putting off. Nor is it helpful when people remind me how great it will be to spend all this glorious time alone with DH.

You will figure it out too! Hang in there. I will post again when I am feeling more confident!
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#17 of 20 Old 06-25-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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I've done it 3 times and am looking forward to #4 in a few years. But I have had this goal in mind ever since Joy was born, 31 years ago. My long term goal as a parent has been to raise responsible adults. Having them leave home and live on their own as adults, has been the sign that I've done it right and my job is done. And the reward is the adult relationships I have with my girls.

All that been said, my kids don't go that far away. Angela is the farthest, about 90 miles away (a matter of about 2 hour's drive and coming home today for a visit). Erica and her family live across town. And Joy and family moved in with us a year ago. Dylan is only 11 so we have years before he leaves. So we really don't have an empty nest household.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#18 of 20 Old 06-25-2009, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I absolutley love this thread and am so happy to find new insights from other moms.

As much as we talk about all aspects of parenting, this part of it still feels a bit like being in the wilderness. This summer has been a real roller coaster of emotion so far. I hope it smooths out a bit.
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#19 of 20 Old 06-25-2009, 08:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thisbirdwillfly View Post
I absolutley love this thread and am so happy to find new insights from other moms.

As much as we talk about all aspects of parenting, this part of it still feels a bit like being in the wilderness. This summer has been a real roller coaster of emotion so far. I hope it smooths out a bit.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#20 of 20 Old 06-26-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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Subbing as my boy is 17 and officially a senior. While ds has lived with his Dad for a while, I know him being away in college will be totally different than bouncing between our two houses. On the one hand I am sad but I am also excited...though having a 3 yo as well it will be a while before I am completely kid free.

Shay

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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