Moms/Dads Of College Kids - Help!

Updated on August 21, 2012
J.C. asks from Chicago, IL
13 answers

Wow, how long does the sadness last??? I dropped my oldest off at college yesterday and I just feel so heavy in my heart. I'm really happy for him and he's going to do great and have the time of his life, but it's really hard on me! Ugh, and my younger one goes off to school next year, so I have to go through this again but even worse since he's the last one to go??? So, what made you feel better after you sent your "baby" off, and when does it get better?

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So What Happened?

Oh, thank you so much moms! I'm glad to know I'm not alone in how I feel. Today was better than yesterday, so that's a start!

Featured Answers


answers from San Francisco on

My oldest, my only son, went to college in another state just a year ago.
I alone took him, got him all moved in, did the whole crazy Target-dorm-shopping thing, went to the parent-freshman orientation. We even spent a few days together before I left, seeing the Grand Canyon and a few other sights.
And even though I was sad (and saying that final goodbye was the hardest part, for both of us) I was just so freaking excited for him! Going to college, living in a dorm, it was just never an option for me. I was supporting myself right out of high school so being able to give my son this amazing opportunity is what made me feel the BEST.
Besides, technology has made everything SO much easier. We text/email a few times a week, and we skype as a family once a week, so you REALLY are able to stay in touch. Just give him a little space and time at first. I find that most of these kids, even the ones who LOVE being away from home, stay pretty well connected with their families.
Hang in there M., you'll be okay, and so will he <hugs>

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

It is very hard. I was almost catatonic once we flew back home and it was so empty. My husband really hs a hard time.

We just kept remembering how excited she was, how happy she looked, and how she already seemed to be a part of her school.

We watched her Facebook postings. We sent her a few messages on her phone and we began sending her packages of goodies.

Here at home I took on more work. I went to breakfast and lunch with friends. At night my husband would watch what we wanted on tv. But she never left our minds.

It gets easier, but does not totally go away. But they love it and do so mwell, it makes it all worth it.

Hang in there. Do fun things with your spouse. Enjoy your only child. It is his first time to have all of your attention.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

In 2007 I had a baby, lost my grandmother, lost my daughter (she chose to stay with her dad), lost my bestfriend (long story, not death) and sent my son off to college all in about 6 months.


Then I realized that in the silence there was peace. And in the tears there was joy that I could raise a human to adulthood and have them be a productive part of society. And I found me again in that time.

It was a LONG journey for me. My daughter has since come home and so has he for that matter and I don't ever want to go through that time again but I learned allot from having him off on his own.

It DOES get better. And when they come'll have TONS to talk about. :)

Sending good thoughts your way!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi, Jacqueline. I love that you can separate your sadness from your son's needs. What a great mom! Like you, I had a hard time when our daughter went to college. Heavy heart describes it well. We are grieving a loss. And, I realized that it reactivated other times in my life when I felt abandoned, especially when I was a child. So I worked on those, and in time the pain of our daughter being at college subsided. I didn't stop missing her and was always thrilled to hear from her and to see her. But that heaviness lifted. Best wishes to you in your process, especially with two of them leaving in some sense.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You have up and down times. One of my sons went into the military, and I thought I would just crawl somewhere and cry forever. But there were good days and bad days. My other son moved then came back and is in community college. My first son got married after he was out of the service. Then he moved very far away. Thought I would cry forever again. My second son got a job, still goes to school and brought a puppy home Yikes, thought I'd cry forever again. This sadly is life. I don't think there is a moment that marks a miraculous feeling of peace. These are our beloved children and we miss them but know they have to move on. We have times when we can handle it and times when we should grab our dog, or husband or take a bath and cry our hearts out. And then appreciate every single moment we have with them again forever and ever.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Oh Jacqueline I absolutely understand.

My oldest started college in 2007. I was a mess. She was the first and my daughter so I missed my mini-me for about a second. She was home EVERY WEEKEND that first year. She wasn't gone long enough for me to miss her. That changed in year 2. I was so proud of her and I knew this was good for her and for me. It got to the point were we had to "tell" her she was coming home for a visit!!! She graduated in May and moved home. I am SOOOO ready for her to move out!! Two adult women in the same house does not mix well.

Our son joined the Army National Guard last year and spent the summer and fall at boot camp and training. That was very hard. We didn't talk to him for over a month before he could call. I was going nuts! I didn't think I would miss him as much as I did. He's a great kid, but he is high maintenance and can be a stinker. =) He came home in late October and then we moved him to Kentucky in January to start college. That has been an adjustment. I can't just drive and visit for the day. I do miss him but he is having the time of his life. He pledged a fraternaty during the spring semester so he is "frat" right now. Its so funny to see him like that! We are flying up there in October for homecoming.

I miss my kids when they were both out of the house but my husband and I had so much fun!!! ;)

My happiness came when they called and were so excited to tell me about what they were doing. I knew then that they didn't miss my which is what I wanted. I promise it does get better!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I just dropped my youngest off at her first day of high school today. I am NOT looking forward to four years from now when she's off to college. I don't know how I'm gonna do it. I don't know how my mom did it all those many years ago when I went away. Makes me sad. Hugs to you!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Find out ways to stay in touch. Accept that they will be on their own and not be as responsive to your messages, but that they will still get them. Focus on things that you didn't do with two kids at home. Remember how you felt if you went away to college. Remember that you taught him enough to let him fly and now he will. You will always be his mom. Now maybe you can also be his friend. We dropped our second one at college and I made sure our computers were both set up to Skype - not that we'll Skype nightly, but we Skyped with the older one when he was abroad and it was nice. Our home will be so quiet without her. But I remind myself that it'll be OK. Really. It does get better. It's bittersweet, but it does get better.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am going through the same thing. We just dropped off our youngest at Kansas City Art Institute. Both my husband and I are depressed! It wasn't so hard with our oldest because he is closer to home.
I just got a text saying what a great day it was. He spent 13 hours in the studio today completing his first project, plus an eight am class. So I know it is the perfect place for him.
I hope we both feel better soon! I am just trying to stay busy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My oldest is in college, but it is local and he still lives at home. My second born, however, went into the military a year ago, is stationed on the opposite coast and is currently overseas. When He left, I couldn't stop crying for about a week! Even now, if I see a pic of him or something that reminds me of him, my eyes tear up:(

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answers from Washington DC on

i am lucky. my younger and last baby moved out on sunday. he'll be staying with my older son in his apartment near college.
due to car and work issues, he came back home last night.
but he's 'gone' in that his stuff is moved out, and he doesn't live here any more. it's a huge chunk out of my heart. after a quarter of a century of being a mom, that role is now relegated to a different place. it's back to me and the ol' man, which has its own sweetness, but the grief is real and must be worked through. i had to do it with my older son a year and a half ago, then my spare son this past june.
there ain't no shortcuts.
the daily pain of the empty bedroom, the missing toothbrush, the echoes of laughter and calling out for you, the fewer dishes to wash, all of that will fade slowly over a month or so. it won't go away and will occasionally flare into OUCH! but it will stop being something that pricks you non-stop.
then after a month (or two) you'll probably find something to do with the space and time that aching chasm has created in you. it won't be sudden. but one day it will occur to you 'hey! this new reality is okay!'
at least, that's my plan.
:) khairete

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answers from Cleveland on

i'm not to this stage yet but i sort of imagine it is the same just deeper than when you send them off to kindergarten. Even at college they will still come home, and they will still need you and they will still be part of your life. But it is different and it is hard.
Stay busy and share your sadness with someone that cares about You.

and for me, I'm looking forward to being a mil and grandma someday when the time is right. That will make it ALLLLLLL worth it for me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I have always given my kids independence. College didn't feel any different from any other of their life's adventures.

Once in a while I get hit with they don't live here anymore but it passes quickly because wasn't that the goal in the first place? I think I would feel far worse if I had raised clingy kids that didn't want to get out and live. Ya know, the ones that live in your basement playing world of warcraft. :p

1 mom found this helpful
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