I Can Let Go

I've been thinking today of moms whose kids have graduated high school this year and will be going off to college in the fall, just a few weeks away.  My daughter just graduated this year from our homeschool high school, but she is staying home. She'll be attending the local college and then transferring to a university in a year or two. My son, hopes to go away to college as soon as he's done with homeschool high school. And the reason I'm thinking of moms sending off their kids is because we just dropped Noah off for a two-week Recruit Training with the Sea Cadets. This is the longest he will be away from home.  It's only been three days and I miss him terribly. I think it's even harder for me because I cannot communicate with him. He cannot just pick up a phone and call.

A couple of years ago he and his sister went to a church retreat, which was a few days. But they were together and we could communicate with each other.  This time he has no electronics. So that means no texting, phone calls or emails. Parents can send emails. The emails get printed and passed out to the recruits at the end of the day. He cannot email us back, though. He can only write to us.  I packed him a mailing kit...addressed and stamped the envelopes so all he had to do was write the letter. We just received our first letter from him. He must've been too tired to write because the letter was quite short. But it was clear that these first two days were pretty rough. I know the first day there, the cadets were awakened at 4:45 am and went on to do physical fitness training immediately after waking up...then breakfast.  So I can imagine that by the end of the day, the only thing he wants to do is just sleep.

You may be wondering what possessed me to send my son to recruit training! Well, it wasn't my choice. It was his. He is 17 years old now and he's been looking forward to this for a long time. He knew how hard it was going to be, and still he wanted to go. He has a desire to join the service some day. It's not a direction that we have been taking him in, but it's a desire that has grown in his heart. So I think this is a very good opportunity for him to get a small taste of what it would be like. I think these two weeks may be life-changing for him. It will certainly be character-building and teach him self discipline.  I'm happy he's learning time management and to set goals and remain focused. I've been told by parents of recruits from previous year that their sons went as young boys and came back as responsible young adults.
These are all good lessons he's learning, of course.  But I cannot help but then think of the near future when he goes away to college. I'm not even half way into the two week period and I'm missing him. I cried reading his letter and I tear up talking to my daughter about where he is and what he may be doing. So I cannot even imagine when he goes away to college...or if/when my daughter goes away to college. I still have a year or two to worry about that, but I'm also aware that time passes oh so quickly.  It seems like just yesterday I was trying to decide what elementary homeschool curriculum to use. I cannot forget I still have my youngest daughter, and she's a long way away from making plans about moving.

When I start thinking of my kids leaving home and what I'll be missing with them, it is so easy to fall into depression or sadness. I can't let myself stay there for long.  I've found that it helps to remember that I've not just been raising children, but I've been raising adults.  This was the goal.  To raise adults who are productive citizens in society and live out God's plan for their lives. I change my focus from what I'm losing (the past) to what my kids are gaining (their future).  I meditate on their bright futures and my future with my husband and the time we'll have together, rather than the past.  The past is beautiful, but it is past. It had its purpose. I treasure those moments, but they are just beautiful memories now. Instead, I want to get excited for the opportunities, the new experiences, the new life lessons and adventures they will have, and that my husband and I will have, and that we can share with each other.  We'll be able to have some very cool talks. In the meantime, they are all still home and my work as a homeschool mom is not finished.  I can work on friendships with my children, my soon-to-be adult children, by being intentional with our conversations and time together. I need to start counseling more than disciplining, releasing them, allowing them to make mistakes, and letting them fly. It helps to know that God is in control and I can let go.


  1. I think the 6 months leading up to my oldest son's going away to college was the hardest—and the 2 weeks following. But it got easier month by month. By his junior year, I don't think I even choked up when he left. ;) And, I must admit, it was an adjustment to have him back again each summer! My daughter will be a senior in high school (homeschooled) this year, and I am already hit with waves of sadness thinking about her going away. My oldest was hard; my sweet daughter will probably be even harder!

  2. Awww, Sarah. I wonder how hard it is or must be for them. Some kids may be looking forward to the independence, but I wonder if once they are away from home, they experience homesickness. While we start early in mourning the loss of not being with them daily, they're looking forward in anticipation to new friends and independence. But once they get there, the reality may be a bit different.
    It's hard when the first one leaves. You'd think it would be easier with the ones that follow. But I don't think that will be the case with me either. Yet, we do need to let go and let them spread their wings and fly. They'll always need us...just in a different way.

  3. I like your last line, Janet Sedano, They'll always need us....just in a different way. Mine is going on to college and since her homeschool graduation, I have been working through a lot of feelings. I see my daughter already becoming more independent, and I am going thorugh the letting go process, my husband, too..... It was so nice to read your post and I connected with it a lot. It is a new adventure.....and I so treasure the time together, while we homeschooled the last 14 years. What a gift it has been to my family! And it will be something to see our daughter move on into college...Betsy @ BJ's Homeschool

    1. Betsy, thank you for taking the time to comment! It's always nice to know when someone reads one of my posts and feels a connection. Homeschooling certainly has been a blessing for our family, as well! I do have an older son, 29, who just got married a couple of months ago. I can certainly say that he still needs me, just in a different way. They may not be under our roof forever, but we will be in each others' lives and hearts forever.