Sending Your Child To College – A Mother’s Perspective

Sending Your Child To College – A Mother’s Perspective

It is early August and I’m still in denial about my daughter leaving for college. I knew the time would come, but I don’t think you are ever really mentally prepared. Working in higher education I get the privilege of helping many students acclimate to college life, sometimes just by being an ear to listen to or a shoulder to cry on. But this time, I get to be on the other side. I know she will be okay, I know she will adjust, and I know she will prosper because I know that I have raised a wonderful kid. But it still doesn’t make it any easier.

It is now mid-August and there are only a few weeks left before she leaves. She is spending time with close friends, she is starting to pack her clothes, and we’ve been to Bed Bath & Beyond to order her dorm needs. I am keeping busy with my job as school is starting. My son started 7th grade and am thinking about him. But in the back of my mind is my little girl leaving to college. It didn’t hit me until Bella (that’s my daughter) shared a post with me, maybe some of you have read it. I don’t know who wrote it but I wanted to share it below:

“Attention Freshmen who are moving to college soon, a little request….When your mom wants to unpack all of your clothes and make your bed – let her. When she wants to introduce herself to all the people on your floor – let her. When she wants to take pictures of every move you make during move in – let her. If she embarrasses you or acts a little crazy – let her. As you start the new chapter of your life, she is also starting a new chapter in hers. And believe it or not, this is probably more difficult for her than it is for you. So let her treat you like her “baby” one last time.”

This little post made me cry like a baby. It all of sudden hit me that my little girl is really leaving and will be starting a life on her own and she doesn’t need me anymore. I think that is what bothers me the most, because as a mother, I was always there. I always took care of her and I loved every minute of it. I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday, and now she is 18. When she was born I held her in my arms, she was born with her eyes wide open, she was staring at me, the most beautiful little baby girl I had ever seen. Of course all moms say that, but she was my beautiful baby girl. I cried tears of joy and looked at her and said to myself, “You were born with your eyes wide open for a reason. You will tackle the world head on and can be whatever you want to be as long as you always have your eyes open.” And she always has.

It is now two days before we leave to drop her off. We are sitting in my room on the floor in front of the hope chest looking at all of her photo albums. I have so many pictures of her. I was that mom that took pictures of everything and put them into albums, and I still do. Her baptism, her first communion, all of her “firsts” from her first day of kindergarten all the way to the first day of senior year in high school. From when she lost her first tooth, to her first haircut, to when she started walking – and let me tell you – she skipped right over crawling. At 10 months old she stood at the end of the couch with both hands and looked at me. I said, “Come on Bella, come to Mommy!” and with no fear, she let go of the couch and ran to me. She didn’t have on fancy walking shoes, in fact, she was barefoot! This was one of the best memories. Other pictures included all of her birthdays, all of our Christmas memories, and of course her basketball photos starting with the YMCA. She was so darn cute. I let her try many activities such as soccer, dance, gymnastics, but basketball was what she fell in love with. And now she is off to play college basketball. The pictures of her holding her little brother when he was born are priceless. She loved to take care of him. Being six years apart, it was great to have her be so helpful. As we were sitting there in front of the hope chest, we were both crying. She said to me, “Mom, don’t worry, I’ll be okay because I have the best mom in the world who taught me everything I need to know.” At that moment I realized I don’t have a little girl anymore, I have an adult daughter.

It is now the day we leave. She has said all her goodbyes to everyone else, and now it is just me and her. Her stuff is mailed, bags are packed, on the airplane we go. We made it! All of her stuff is in her dorm and we start unpacking, and decorating. We meet others on the floor, we have a meeting with her basketball team and coaches, we walk all over campus, and there is even an opening convocation for all the freshmen. It was a very rushed day, but now the time has come for me to leave. She walks me to the car, gives me a sweet hug, and says, “I love you, Mom.” And with tears in my eyes I tell her, “I love you, Bella.” She is a very simple, sweet, humble young woman. I’m sure many of you can relate. No matter the age, she will always be my little girl, and I’ve realized it is okay to cry, and okay to worry because that is what moms do. I’ve let her go and she will be fine.


Kathy Gonzalez

Financial Aid Counselor

Colorado College

4-Year Private Representative / CAFAA