She left. Again! But this time was different. It was bittersweet. Gone was the anxiety and fear. We were both more confident and knew what to expect. It was back to college, year two. A year sure rolls around really fast. These are a few lessons I learned this year.
1. You are not losing your child.
I remember how empty the house felt when we dropped our daughter off last year but as the year progressed I realized I hadn’t lost my child. If anything we grew closer. Once I got over the not talking regularly on the phone, we communicated by SnapChat and text and it made our face time on the phone even more special. If you play your cards right, you and your teen can actually grow closer in this season. Be available to listen but not overly possessive and remember, it’s best to give advise when it is asked for. Your teens are growing and learning and they will ask you when they feel like they need your words of wisdom.
2. You are gaining a responsible adult.
I was quite amazed at the responsible teen who showed up in my home for summer. Lots of parents told me about how their teens had changed and matured. We have always been quite nervous about our teens driving so when our daughter had to drive for her internship we felt like we needed to show her all the back roads. We did this till one fine day she said, “Mom you are stressing me out. Please let me just use my GPS.” I realized it was time to let go and let God protect them. Some teens volunteered at summer camps whilst others worked to make extra money. I was truly impressed by the responsibility they showed and how seriously they took their assignments. Our young men and women are becoming responsible adults. They have their own plans and goals dreams and aspirations.
3. Rediscover yourself.
The other challenge for me last year was what was I going to do with myself. I’ve always seen myself as a mom first so when my last child went off to college, I just felt empty. But I quickly picked myself up and got involved in other activities. Parents can volunteer or get involved in that hobby they’ve always dreamt of doing. If you always wanted to start your own business now may be the time to do so or you can write a book or reconnect with your old friends. There’s no end of activities to get involved in.
4. Reconnect with your partner.
This is so important. My husband started using this phrase “It’s just you and me again.” It’s like coming full circle.We all get so involved in our kids lives that somewhere along the way we lose touch with you either. This is your opportunity to get the spark back. Learn to hold hands again, to smile at each other and talk to each other again. Rekindle your intimacy. If you have the opportunity, travel, visit all the places you wanted to see before raising teens happened. Make an impact in other people’s lives. Think of the legacy you will leave behind for your family and society as a whole.
It may be challenging when our teens come home and leave again for college year two, but think of all the good things that are happening in their lives. Embrace the wonderful young adult your teen is becoming. Seize life by the horns and go for it. Embrace new challenges. Reconnect with your life partner and make an impact in the world we live in.