College :: A New Parenting Phase

As moms, we all know how hard and rewarding parenting can be during any phase. The fact that our children don’t come with manuals or a “how to” list doesn’t keep us from diving right in and figuring this parenting gig out. During every phase of parenting; newborn, toddler, school age, pre-teen and so on, we fumble around, make mistakes but somehow figure out how to parent each of our kids. Not every child is the same. Not every situation is parented the same way. But we persevere and figure it out…one step at a time.

Parenting my four children, who are all very different from each other, has been something that I’ve looked forward to. I love a challenge! I love learning new things and finding out what doesn’t work and then figuring out how to make it work. And I love people. People are what make me happy! They are a challenge. Just when you think you have your friends and family figured out, they go and do something unexpected. I love it!

But I’m facing a new phase of parenting and quite frankly, it scares me a bit. You see, my oldest is heading off to college in a few weeks (2.5 hours away) and I don’t have a CLUE as to how to parent from a distance.

From the moment he was placed in my arms 18+ years ago, I could read him.

I could see his face when he was upset and know what he needed. I could see his posture when he walked into a room and I would know if he had a good day or not. I could hear things in his voice when we’d talk that no one else could hear. Why? Because I am his mom and that’s what moms do! Right?

I’d know, just by looking at him, if he was lying to me. I could tell by his ornery grin that he was up to something. I could tell by his hugs if he was happy or sad. I could see his face light up when he laughed and know what type of laugh he was doing. And more importantly, I could tell when he needed me just by being around him. Kids have a way of telling us things without saying a word. Experts say that 80% of communication is non-verbal and with kids, it might be closer to 90%!

So, how am I supposed to know if he needs me if I can’t see his smile? See his posture? See the glow on his face when he wants to tell me something great? See the pain on his face when he’s sad or gets his heart broken?

How will I know that he will pick up the phone to call me if he needs me? 

I don’t expect him to call me every time he is sad or excited or needs advice. I am fully aware, and relieved, that he is entering  the phase of his life where he can figure out “who he is” without his parents around. I know that I might be the LAST person he wants to talk to and I’m actually fine with that. I just don’t know how to remind him that he can always reach out to his mom. 

I guess I will just have to figure out this new phase of parenting, this first phase of parenting from a distance, this new phase of motherhood like I’ve figured out all the others…

… one step at at time, trial and error and a few glasses of wine!

Wish me luck!

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