Letting Go: Sending My Firstborn to College


Senior with parentsExplaining what it is like to send one’s firstborn child off to college is almost impossible.  There are so many conflicting emotions.

On one hand, I was immensely proud of him and knew he was ready to fly, so to speak. However, I could look at him a certain way and I was sure that he still had to be my four-year-old on the t-ball field.

Letting go is always hard even without extenuating circumstances.

Our son attends a community college about four hours from home. He received a scholarship to play college baseball. We were thrilled. Not only is this my alma mater, but my aunt is a retired English professor and my father is a current business professor there.

Months before, I started reading about dorm room essentials and really started shopping in June.

Our son talked to his roommate several times. The baseball coach pairs the guys, so our son did not have a choice (he and his roommate actually got along very well).

  • Places to shop: Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Amazon were our go-to places for dorm essentials.  Additionally, IKEA and Home Depot were places we bought things.
  • Game plan: This may sound silly (or embarrassing for my son), but I talked to his roommate’s mom. Girls tend to have custom bedding and headboards made, but guys are a little easier. She and I decided to just stick with the college colors of gray, white, and maroon which made things so much easier.

Move-in date came quickly, and we headed up to the college.

On move-in day, my mom kept our toddler and our teenage daughter came with us. The roommate was not there yet, so we unpacked my son’s things.

Honestly, everything was so laid-back, and I was surprised. I had envisioned hundreds of students and family members going up and down elevators and hallways. Because his college had a staggered move-in schedule, the calm atmosphere was a nice surprise.

There is a rite of passage where the college student’s mother “makes up” the bed. I was honored to do this, while the guys hooked up the television, X-box, and other electronics. Then, his roommate arrived and set up his side of the room. Everything looked neat and I was so proud.

The time came for us to go. I knew it was coming. This was something that had been in the back of my mind for his whole senior year.

I got the last hug… he hugged me longer than usual. We got in my husband’s truck to leave and I see our son turn around to walk the other way. Just looking at him and knowing he was not coming back with us nearly did me in.

On the way home, everyone was fairly quiet. I was proud of myself for not crying in front of my son. But when we pulled into our driveway, I could not help myself. His gray truck that was usually in the driveway was not there and I began to feel empty and lost. So I had a good cry.

He missed out on his first college baseball season due to the Coronavirus but made many friends, studied hard, and had a good freshman year.

Admittedly, I have gotten spoiled with his being home again. I know he will have to go back again soon, and I will probably cry again.

But they don’t really leave right away, do they? They put one foot out the door. Then the other.


Previous article2023 Ultimate Summer Camp Guide
Next article4 Family Friendly Hiking Trails on the Gulf Coast
Katie grew up in Clinton, Mississippi, and has lived on the Gulf Coast for 24 years. She has taught for 20 years and has a masters degree in elementary education from William Carey University and a preschool certification from Ole Miss. Besides teaching preschool, she is the keeper of all schedules for her husband and three children. Katie enjoys watching her oldest play college baseball, her only daughter cheer for her varsity high school squad, and her “later in life” toddler do all things hilarious. Katie enjoys her daily devotion, writing, reading, shopping, being with family, and her daily dose of coffee.