We are at the most bittersweet moment in parenting. In a few days, our daughter will be moved in to her first dorm room on a college campus 3000 miles from home. For the last several weeks, our days have been filled with doctor appointments, shopping trips and adventures with friends she won’t see for several months. Our family is starting a new stage of life.
I will be honest. Most of the people we know are sure our daughter will soar in her new environment. People who know me casually are taking bets on the date of my breakdown. Those who know me well, know my calendar is already packed with new adventures for me in my new empty nest life.
Actually, a part of me is a little sad. I always enjoy each stage of life to the fullest and am sad when it comes to an end. I loved being a full time, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to our daughter. I actually liked our daughter and enjoyed spending time with her. I will miss having her around the house and in the car to share private jokes and adventures. On the other hand, I am also more than a little excited about the adventures she is about to have as a college student and the new ones I will have as well.
The one thing I don’t have is regrets. I always said that I probably would (and did) make quite a few mistakes as a parent. I promised God though, that when he blessed me with a child, I would be “all in”. I gave 110% to being the best Christian mom I possibly could. I asked for advice when I didn’t know what to do. I heeded the warnings of godly women and listened respectfully to their counsel.
I actually listened to and heard what my daughter had to say. My daughter was showered in “I love you’s” and hugs and kisses every day of her life. Most importantly, I never missed a chance to teach her about God. I told her how much He loves her and how special His plans for her are. I taught her His commands and why it was important for her to obey and heed God’s wisdom. I told her about all the blessings the Christian life has to offer.
Our family served together as a family for our daughter’s entire life. When she was barely a year old, she helped fill bags with food or school supplies and helped deliver them to the inner city. Her first trip out of the country at the age of not quite 3 was to encourage missionaries and was the beginning of our involvement with an orphanage that became an extension of our family. We showed our daughter how to serve others and share our faith at the same time often on a daily basis.
Did I make mistakes as a parent? Absolutely! Our daughter can and probably will share stories of those funny and not so funny mistakes for years to come. At the end of this part of the daily “parenting in-house” journey though, I understand the difference between mistakes and regrets. I feel as if I can look God in the face on the Day of Judgment and honestly say I did the very best I could do to raise my daughter to be a faithful Christian servant.
That’s my prayer for you. I can promise you, your career, friends and hobbies will still be waiting for you when your child leaves for college. Although I kept pieces of many of those things in my life, they went to the far back burner while I was parenting full time. I believe God has blessed me by placing in front of me my heart’s desire for this next phase of my life in my ministry to Him. I do not regret one minute I spent in full time, focused parenting and would not go back and change it for all of the promotions and money in the world.
Our daughter’s choices in adulthood remain to be seen, but I am proud of the beautiful Christian woman she has become on the inside as well as the outside. I only hope she will let me sneak in on her adventures in the future every now and then! In the mean time, I am off to enjoy the heavenly college atmosphere she has chosen – with a little second honeymoon with my husband tagged on after the university kicks the parents off campus. Let the adventures begin!