Columnist’s note: Meet my friend and fellow student nurse, Jillian DeMoya. Jillian is a busy mother who recently said “Goodbye” to her firstborn, who left for college. I listened as Jillian shared about the myriad emotions a parent has at this transition — being so proud and excited for your child to grow up and do great things but deeply grieving his absence. Instead of writing about it myself — I’m never letting my children leave home! — I asked Jillian to be my guest and write about it herself for this week’s Whole Family column. I hope readers appreciate her depth and honesty. I do. See you next week.
— Steph Price
As I stood there in the aisle looking at cards, I burst into tears. I could not stop. I cried silently as I made my way to the register. I cried discreetly as I paid. When I hit the safety of the car, with my windows rolled up, I really let it rip. Graduation day had dawned, and one of the last-minute errands that I had needed to do was to buy a graduation card for my son who was graduating from high school. As the sobs came that day, I realized nothing would ever be the same.
Two weeks ago my oldest son left for college. I am both immensely proud and deeply sad.
I am the mother of four children. Having them and being their mother has been at the core of my identity since the moment that I knew I was expecting my first child. I know, all the experts say that it is imperative to keep developing in my own right as a person. I have done that. I love to read, consider myself a lifelong learner who loves people and new adventures; I even went to college for the first time at age 40.
But I have always enjoyed being in the presence of my children. I have relished their hugs and sweet breath. I love seeing the world through their eyes and experiencing together all of the wonder a day can hold. I love spending a lazy day when all of us can be found piled on the couch together singing, laughing, and watching funny videos. I love seeing them develop their talents and passions. I love watching other people enjoy their presence also.
Yet now my oldest child has gone away to college. Two weeks ago we helped him move in so that he could pursue his dreams. Of course, he was incredibly excited to go to college. Now his life is really beginning.