An Open Letter To Parents Of College Students | Nashville Christian Family Magazine September 2023 issue - free Christian magazine

Dear Parent,

The day your child has dreamed about and looked forward to for several months has arrived. You know it’s the best path. You know it’s the right thing to do, to drop your baby off at the dorm. But why does it hurt so?

Let’s be truthful. It does hurt. And that’s okay. Go ahead and cry. Take some time off. Go somewhere and connect with your husband or a good friend for a few days. This is a milestone event—a celebration of sorts. You’ve done your job! Congratulations!

There are things you still can do for your child. Send him care packages. They do miss your homemade cake pops and chocolate chip cookies. Pray for them. They do want your prayers and may even make specific requests. Visit them on Family Weekend and bring their favorite homemade meal.

It’ll take time to adjust to the new family dynamics. But you’ll grow accustomed to a quieter and cleaner house after a few months. You’ll find you have more time for yourself, a time to pick up a new hobby or sport. You’ll sleep better without the constant coming and going during the late-night hours. You may find you like this new normal.

Remember when your infant didn’t sleep for months, and you thought you’d never sleep again? Or when your toddler threw temper tantrums at the table, and you envisioned meals of chicken nuggets, goldfish, and spit-up broccoli forever. Or when your teenager sassed back at you, and you wondered who kidnapped your sweet child? You survived all these seasons, and you’ll survive this one. I’m not saying it will be easy or trouble-free, for each child’s experience is unique, but this is a season, and you’ll adjust and even thrive.

If your nest is empty, you’ve recovered much free time. What about that vacation you’ve envisioned with your spouse or a group of girlfriends? Now’s the time to work on that bucket list. It’s a world of possibilities.

Go ahead and dream—dreams just for you. Your child’s pursuing his. Why not follow yours? God will watch over your child while you transition to and thrive in this unsettling season. He has your child in the palm of His hand. He knows where your son or daughter is. He knows what they’re up to.

You’ve slowly let go of your child’s hand since birth, and now is the time to surrender her to God. He’ll care for her. He’ll care for you. Trust Him—He is a good and compassionate God.

I’m cheering and praying for you.


A veteran empty nester

Sally Cressman writes about faith, family, and home on her website, www.sallycressman.comYou’ll receive FREE “Tips to Ease Back-to-School Anxiety” when you sign up. She’d love to connect with you on Instagram at @sacressman.

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