Sending Your Firstborn Off To College – Part 3

So as we drove away from Montana – having left our firstborn in a strange state, a strange land, a strange room, with … well … strangers – and as I had lots of time to stare out the car window at scenery like this:


I had plenty of hours to think about things like why sending your child to college was so emotional.

I mean, there are the obvious things, like you don’t get to chit-chat as often, you won’t be privy to all the daily goings-on of your child’s day, you won’t get to have your interesting discussions at the dinner table any more, he won’t be around to make you laugh. There are the good things, like you won’t have to wash a gazillion socks anymore, you won’t have to buy mountains of Cheese-Its, and you get a little real estate back in his/her room, which you can use however you like now.

But there was something more … Something definitely deeper. And this overwhelming sadness seems more common among this generation of parents than it did ours. (Or maybe that was just my parents!)

I finally realized that it really all boiled down to something a blogger friend of mine said: Tracy Kunzler, who blogs for me at Health Bistro, and was sending twin boys to college this year, and she said she read that sending your child/children to school is like “the biggest pink slip you’ll ever get.”

That sounded about right.

It felt like a pink slip. And for a job that I wasn’t quite ready to leave, thankyouverymuch.

I wasn’t done being his mom. I wasn’t done standing with him at the kitchen counter and talking about his day. I wasn’t done taking him to museums, and taking him on vacation, and passing books back and forth on our nightstands. I wasn’t done taking him to school, and making him dinner, and making his lunch. I wasn’t even done with the childhood years – making his Halloween costumes, taking him to the 4th of July parade, holding his hand across the street, walking him home from elementary school. …

It all just went by too fast.

I just wasn’t done.

I realized, however, that I only got the pink slip for one child, and that I had two more to enjoy, thankfully. But it made me think a lot about my friends who were sending only children to college – three who were sending twins, who were the oldest and only – and how it must feel like a pink slip even more to them, because then you’d feel like your whole role as mom was whisked away in a day.

So that’s what I think the sadness is.

And I imagine it’s going to be worse when I send my youngest, because the pink slip will be for real then. My job will be done.

Whether I’m ready or not.

How about you — Have you been received what feels like a “mom pink slip” yet? Did you feel like you needed to find another “job”?

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4 thoughts on “Sending Your Firstborn Off To College – Part 3

  1. Oh, MizWrite… the dreaded “pink slip”… My one and only is talking about marriage. She doesn’t want to leave me alone, though. I want to cling to her and say, stay with me – you are my everything. Yet, I know she needs to grow up, be a wife, be a mom, be without me…

  2. Well said! Yes, it does feel like all those things, and it feels like that again with the 2nd leaving…and, I only have a few more months until my youngest is done with highschool…So, I can only imagine the feelings I will have then. I do have to say though – in some ways it is a little freeing to not have to buy all those cheez-its and to not have to worry about someones schedule. I actually am getting used to all my alone time, and it isn’t all bad. I do get lonely sometimes, but lord knows that the kids are only a phone call (um, text) away, because they wouldn’t be caught dead without their phones =)

  3. Oh, M.!!!!!!!!!!!! Marriage??????? Yes, that would be hard — you two seem inseparable. Well, you could be the move-in mother-in-law. ? 🙂 Or maybe it’s just better to wait a while, and then think of the lovely grandkids you’ll get to fawn all over!

    Debi — Good to hear you’re getting used to time alone and it isn’t all bad! Maybe the first two are prepping you for what’s to come? In any case, enjoy this year to the fullest with your youngest! I loved seeing her homecoming pics!!!

  4. I’m trying to focus on the lovely grandkids, but I keep getting stuck with the inseparable feeling…

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