Leaving the Nest

I received the below submission as comment on a previous post:

“I have a question! Next Fall my daughter is going away to a University. I’ve been preparing her for over a year now on how to live alone without a parent and what things to watch out for, yet I still have a lot of anxiety over her move and being without me. We will be 3 states apart and it is really hard for me to let go. What tips do you have on letting go and not freaking out when I say good-bye….. ”

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Dear Reader,

As you may, or may not know, I am not the expert on sending daughters off to college. So, I consulted the authority on this matter…my own mother. She has successfully sent 3 daughters off to college. I thought she might have some valuable insight, having lived it 3 times over.

If her insight isn’t what you needed to hear, I just have to say it was what I needed to hear this weekend. It gave me a boost for the week, I did not know I needed. Since our quick chat, I have felt continuously thankful that I have a mother that is so self-aware, wise, selfless and encouraging.  I know not so many people are as lucky as I am. However, dear reader, I think your daughter must be as lucky and me and my sisters have been.

My Mom expressed that she felt similar emotions to what you are feeling about the impending move and separation. That worrying about the “What if she can’t or won’t?!” is perfectly normal, but instead try to think about the “What if she can and will?!”. She said that positive outlook really made a big difference for her. She was able to be excited about our futures and be excited with us for the next step, instead of dwelling on something negative. Personally, I always feel the most excited and prepared when my parents are also excited for me. Their approval and belief in me gives me an extra boost of confidence when I might normally feel unsure.

From my perspective, I feel that it is human nature to fulfill the roles people assign to us. People who are labeled as”losers”, have been told over and over again they are a loser, they are lazy and are good for nothing. The same goes for people who are confident, successful and happy. They are built up by those around them. We start to believe and embody what the people around us think and say about us.  Since your daughter already has the tools needed to succeed, keep on encouraging her and reminding her of how great she will do on her own. Of course, there will be hard parts to college, but going in believing that she can handle it, that she is aware and that she will succeed will give her the upper hand in most situations.

In terms of letting go and how hard it can be,  my mother suggested, to be so thankful that you were able to raise a healthy young woman who can be on her own. That you can “let go”. There are many parents who wish that their child was capable of such an accomplishment. But on the day of the move, tears are inevitable! Do your best to keep it together, because it is not your daughter’s  responsibility to make you happy, but it is your responsibility to make sure she doesn’t feel guilty about pursuing her dreams.

All in all, you gave her the tools she needs, now believe in yourself that you succeeded in raising her right and share the joy and excitement that will come with the future.

With Love,

Stephanie