What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Today I am very happy to have one of my closest friends guest posting for me. Like me her child is going off to college but her situation is a little different than mine, I still have two more children at home. Read her heartfelt words and make sure to send her lots of love with your comments.

Summer Vacation

What I Did on My Summer Vacation
Yep – that’s what I often have my students write in their journals during their first week back at school. I know it sounds cliché, but I really do enjoy finding out how my students spent their summer holiday.


Inevitably, there’ll be one child who will ask about my summer. It’s always sweet when they do. And I love sharing about a trip to my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains to spend time with my family or about a fun day at Busch Gardens. This year will be different. This year I’ll have to share a more somber story. One of dread and sadness. One of saying goodbye to my only child as he packs up and goes off to college.


Since before we had our son almost 18 years ago, we have been planning for him to go to college. We have saved and planned and pushed him down that path – there really were no other options. Sure, I told him I’m more than happy if he stays here and goes to our local community college. However, I had the experience of going away to school and I know how great it is. I want him to have that too. I know it will be liberating for him to start his season of adulthood. I just wish I was going to see it firsthand.


Now that it is a reality, however, I’m spending more time worrying. I worry about all the things that could happen to him. What if he gets locked out of his room? What if his roommate is a sociopath? What if he oversleeps and misses a test? What if he gets homesick? What if he gets sick? What if . . . . the list goes on and on. Then I have worries about myself – what will I do? Who will watch The Walking Dead with me? Your typical mom worries!


I am beginning to feel like it must be similar to grief. Going through stages. For me, I started at nervous – will he even get accepted at the school he wants to go to (yes). Then excitement – wow! He got in! Then worry – how on earth will we ever pay for this (it works out somehow). Following that it was feeling anxious – only 6 weeks to go, only 5 weeks to go, etc. Now I have stepped deeply into all of them with some extreme sadness on the side. Sad that I won’t see him every single day. Sad that I won’t get to hear his overly informative opinions on Dr. Who, Top Gear, the Miami Dolphins, or guitar strings.


That’s where my summer story gets murky. Should I really title it “My Summer of Grieving?” Because everyone tells me I should be happy – happy that he’s going to school to make new friends and to start his life. Some have even hinted to me that my child WILL BE FINE! In sharing my sorrow, many people have tried to ‘fix’ it or (in my opinion) invalidate it. Not many have just listened or offered comfort. My grief comes from having been a certain kind of mom to my only child for 17 ½ years and that is ending. Why would people try to talk me out of those feelings?


So, as I say goodbye to my baby and I say hello to a new group of 3rd graders, I will remind myself that I am not alone in this. We all have problems and stories to share. Sometimes we aren’t looking for solutions, just someone to listen. Maybe those 3rd graders will be just what I need! And yes, I’m sure my baby boy will be fine.

sherry head shot

Sherry is currently a third grade teacher.   Virginia is her home and heart. Bassett specifically. Even though she lives right down the road from me in North Carolina. She has been married 24 years.  Her husband is retired USAF. One son – 17. She koves her Scottie dog Wallace. She don’t trust people who don’t read books. She  loves musicals, 80’s music, and Adam Levine. ( She was the one who went the movie prescreening with me.)  And cooking. She  loves loves loves to cook.

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  1. My oldest is 10 and I keep telling him that I wish I could freeze him the way he is so that he stops growing up! I know you guys will be fine, but I know it can’t be easy!

  2. Having a kid go off to college doesn’t have to be a sad time. Just think, when they come back home, you can charge rent!

  3. Oh my I feel for you I Really do I am terrified at the thought of my son going to college. I mean I am happy that at 14 and in 9th grade he is thinking about it but I dread the day he leaves. hugs

  4. I had the same feelings when my daughter started college. I still worry about her for various things but she has really grown and matured and is ready to face the world. My work is done!

  5. I worry every single year my kids start school :(. This means they are growing up and becoming more independent which makes me so sad as a mommy.

  6. My son is currently a Junior in high school, so I am going to be going through the same thing in a couple of years. He has such great plans though, I am excited to see where life if going to take him.

  7. Don’t be too hard on yourself – I think most mommas go through this when their kiddos leave! You’ll get used to the new normal soon!

  8. My daughter is thirteen today (she is my oldest), I get sad, especially on birthdays because I know one day she will go off to college, then probably meet the man of her dreams and leave me forever… WAHHHHH!!!

  9. I am feeling all of this right now. My oldest starts her senior year of high school next week and turns 18 next month. Im not afraid of her needing me and not being there for her… I’m afraid of her NOT needing me 🙁 I get what your saying…

  10. Sending your child off to college is always hard! It’s so hard not to worry about them, even though I knew it was time to let go (but not let go too much!)

  11. Yes he will be just fine.:) He will learn to deal with problems and be independent. Hope you enjoy teaching your new students!

  12. My kids have now both graduated college and all I can say is thinking about the empty nest is way worse than actually having it! It’s nice that you have those little 3rd graders to keep you busy!

  13. Aww I am so happy that I have about 12 years before I have to face this. I know my parents, well my dad wanted me to stay at home my mom could take me or leave me….lol

  14. Mine will be off to college in 3 short years and I am already dreading it. The house will feel so empty without her in it. Best wishes to your son this year!

  15. Gosh I remember writing this essay throughout my life. I think that my kids do get that assignment as well

  16. I only have one child also. She is a senior in high school and will soon be heading off to college also. I am not looking forward to it at all! I know it will be really hard for me!

  17. I guess there is always that one time when you need to let the kids fly on their own, it’s hard, but inevitable.

  18. This is so sweet! I can only imagine how I’m going to feel when I start sending my babies off to college. My daughter started Kindergarten this week, so my sorrows are very open and out there.

  19. I sent two sons away to college and it wasn’t easy. I was nervous and excited for them at the same time. They both made it through in one piece and it is just a memory now but a good memory. It will get easier when you see your son having the time of his life.

  20. I have one in grade one , two in highschool and one in college. Each year it gets easier. We had a busy summer but I doubt the kids will remember much when school starts 🙂

  21. I used to love that assignment. It was always fun to relive my summer vacation while writing it all out. It is hard to see your child leave home but like you said it will be a amazing experience for him.

  22. Mine just turned 4 today. I’m glad I still get to enjoy him being little for a long time.

  23. I totally understand about your son going off to college. It really isn’t ever the same. It’s very hard to make that transition!

  24. I think sending a child off to college would require some grieving. Have a great school year.

  25. I’m sure you will be fine, but it is definitely a huge adjustment. Just remember, that while you’re missing him, he’s going to miss you too.

  26. I still have about five more years with my older one. I am not sure how I will handle it.

  27. My oldest is only 7, so these years are far away for us. But my parents have always told me that they still worry about me, even though I am in my late 20’s.

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