I almost cried in Homegoods today.
Not because someone grabbed that cute pillow before I could get it or because someone cut in front of me in line. No, I just turned the corner and their it was. Staring at me, pulling at my heartstrings. That sign: “Back to Campus”. Like it was placed there just for me to see. I felt it glaring at me, somehow asking me if my oldest was ready to go back to campus and if my middle daughter was ready to head to campus for the first time. Are my girls campus ready? Oh, man, are you kidding me? Is this really happening? Not just the tears welling up in my eyes, but the fact that I’m about to send another child off to college.
I stopped dead in my tracks and gazed at all of the cute dorm stuff. Storage crates & baskets, desk organizers, white boards, agendas, string lights, and of course – lots of cute decorative pillows. Did daughter #2 already have these things? Did she need all of these things? Was she “campus ready”? Was I “campus ready”? Where is that pillow that says, “Call Mom”? I suddenly had a strong desire to buy two of them!
As I slowly made my way down the aisle, blinking constantly to rid my eyes of the blurring tears, I wondered how I could possibly be so emotional about sending my second child off to college.
“Come on mom, you’ve done this before. You sent daughter #1 off two years ago. You survived, she thrived. You can do this again.”
As these thoughts were coursing through my brain, I knew I really could do this again. But in all honesty did I want to do this again? The answer was no, not really.
Then the mom guilt set in…
You know what I’m talking about. I was being selfish, wishing I could keep her in my nest just a little bit longer. JMU already had one of my girls, did they really need another one so soon? Realizing that once she went off to college, I only had two years left with my son at home, and then he would be off to college too. I would then be part of that dreaded group…an empty-nester. What a horrible thing to call someone!
By the time I had passed the last shelf of desk lamps, throw blankets, and “You’ve Got This” wooden sentiment signs, I had pulled myself together. Deep down I know she is campus ready. Not because we have bought all of the things on every college packing list, or because she knows her way around campus (she’s going to the same college as her sister, after all), but because I know we have prepared her well for this next chapter. She is a strong, independent young lady who is also smart, friendly and kind, and more than capable of making good decisions on her own. Oh, and she also knows how to do laundry!
So, I guess the real question is, am I campus ready? Are any parents ever totally ready to send their babies, I mean young adults, off to college or out on their own? Maybe, maybe not. But regardless of your answer or my answer, we must let them go. We must pack up that car, help set up that dorm room, and leave campus that day (yes, we must leave), feeling confident that we have done our job well. She will thrive because she is ready. So, then, I guess I am ready too.
So, mamas everywhere, as we prepare ourselves – I mean them- for the big day, just remember that they are excited and ready (and maybe a little bit nervous) for this next adventure and even though we may be a little sad about their departure, it is time to let them do their thing. So, whether we get a little teary-eyed in Homegoods or ugly cry on the way home from move-in day, it will all be okay. You will survive and they will shine!
After all, Thanksgiving break will be here before you know it!