How do we handle this? Whether it is the kindergartener or the college student, we have to adjust our thinking and protect ourselves or we will find ourselves either doing things that we wish we hadn't, feel depressed, or withdraw completely. We must stay in the game of life and move on. We must find a way to survive this, but not only that, thrive in spite of the hole in our life. I have survived and I love my new life. I am also thankful that my children can take care of themselves.
Some things to consider:
1. You still have your child. They are still living, breathing and existing. So many parents have lost children to death or illness, you are blessed to still have your child alive.
2. We want our children to be able to thrive and live on without us. We know that we won't be here forever, at some point we will die. Do we want our children to mourn their lives away or live and be happy? Do we want to leave them dependent on someone else or able to thrive on their own? We must let them grow up and experience life without us while we are still here to guide them, when needed.
3. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" is an old saying. While it is a bit sad, it is also true. Short absences tends to make the time you do spend together more appreciated by all.
4. Think of all the parents with children who are not able to live independently due to illness (mental and/or physical). Those parents would love for their children to be able to live life independent of them or anyone else, but sadly they know that will never happen. And what happens to the child if something happens to the parent? Be thankful your child can go off to kindergarten or to college and survive because they are healthy and you have raised them well.
5. One other thought, every phase of our life has its own blessings and curses. Each phase presents its own opportunities, if we allow ourselves to see those opportunities and take advantage of them. You have more freedom now to pursue those opportunities than you had when your children were under your feet 24/7.
As you send your child or children off to school, whether it is kindergarten, college or anyplace in between, be thankful for the little things. Dr. Seus made a statement once that sticks with me when I miss my children:
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"
Take this to heart. You had that phase of your life, you did a good job. Your children can function away from your watchful eye and they are able to learn. You need to smile and remember those good days, but move on to create new ones with new ideas.
So, buy the book bags, new clothes, supplies, and kiss them goodbye - temporarily, because they will be back. (LOL)
Do you have any good advice to share with other parents whose children will be leaving for college or just to school? What have you found to be the hardest part of letting your children go? What plans do you have for this next phase of your life?