Disclaimer: I am by no means a parenting expert (not that I've ever been accused of that anyway). I'm simply a mom who has learned it's best to take it day by day, kid by kid, situation by situation.
I spend lots of time homeschooling the 2nd grade princess and diffusing the very new-to-me girl drama. I also spend lots of time navigating parenthood to teenage boys on the cusp of leaving home. When these things occur simultaneously (and they often do) it's as if my brain begins to short circuit. I can go from teaching simple addition facts to editing college essays in a matter of minutes. And hopefully the appropriate parts of my brain can keep up.
Needless to say with my oldest being a senior this year, the college application and admissions process has been front and center. And my how it has changed since I went through that experience (not sure why - I mean it was only a few years ago, right?).
But even putting aside all the logistics and paperwork, there are so many other things happening. My first child is preparing to 'leave the nest!' That should probably freak me out, but it really doesn't.
Chances are he'll be going to a school that isn't a 'hop in the car and drive a few hours' distance away but more like a 'hop on a plane for a couple of hours' distance away. That should definitely freak me out, but it really doesn't.
Chances are he'll go from living in a city with 45,000 people to living in a city with 1,000,000+ people. That should send shivers down my suburban mom spine, but it really doesn't.
I've had multiple parents - both of students that have already graduated and those that are in his class - ask me how I feel about him wanting to go to school so far from home and in such a drastically different environment. I really can't explain it except to say that I'm a firm believer that my job as a parent is to raise my children to first and foremost be a follower of Christ and secondly to encourage them to pursue His plan for their life - not mine or even their own.
If God is leading him to go to school 800 miles away then who am I to stand in the way. That doesn't mean that I won't be sad or that I won't miss him, but if he's following God's plan for his life then I know it will all be ok.
Do I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see what was going to happen? Yes - and not just with the first one to leave the nest, but with all of them. But that's not how God designed it. I'm excited to see what's in store for each one of their futures - whether they stay close to home (but not in my home forever) or embark on a global adventure (makes for great vacation options). And regardless of their physical location, I'll always have the privilege of being their mom.