Leaving for College

Leaving for College

by Charlotte Siems


This is our son’s life for the next few weeks.  Oh, the cold, cruel world.

Caleb leaves for college soon and due to our family’s summer schedule with camps and trips, we decided to go ahead and box up his stuff and paint the bedroom in preparation for a new occupant.  His sister chose a light robin’s egg blue and now he has to live with it for a little while.
This will actually be less stressful than packing, painting and moving as soon as we return from vacation.
Meanwhile I find myself with a lump in my throat at odd times.  Caleb will be our seventh child to leave home so I know the drill.  We’ll attend the new student activities at college and get him moved into the dorm, then I’ll cry when it’s time to leave.
It’s never the same after they leave home.
Sure, they come to visit and maybe even stay for awhile but they have new friends and a new life.  We stand by as advisors and supporters (and pray-ers), but the decisions and consequences are theirs.
When they’re little kids it seems that this day will never come.  We’re aggravated because they won’t potty train and we despair that they’ll ever sleep through the night.  We wash their clothes, feed them, apply band-aids and tell them to shush in church.  We watch in amazement as they grow tall and start shaving, and then….they’re gone.
Caleb’s departure will mark a new season of life for the family.  For the first time more children will be gone than at home.  We’ll have only one son at home and his four sisters.  With five boys in a row, for a long time it seemed as if we had an endless supply of guys.
Memories have been popping up lately.  Caleb memorizing the entire book Blueberries for Sal when he was three years old.  The time he boarded a school bus across the street because “he wanted to see the Magic Schoolbus.”  All the desserts he cooked for the family.  His performances in the community theater.
Mommies, there is an end in sight.  It’s just hard to see around the bend sometimes.
Take heart and live with that end in sight.  I know it seems like forever while you’re doing it, but when they’re packing to leave it will seem like the blink of an eye.
This week we’ll be preparing for Caleb’s graduation party.  His brother will arrive home after a summer away in Florida.  Another brother will return from Colorado in a few weeks.  Then they’ll all leave to head back to school.
The revolving door of large family life will swing open once again.  We’ll say hello….and goodbye. 
I think I’ll go have a good cry.
Please pass the Kleenex and leave a comment below….


  1. It is so bittersweet. My one and only leaves in just a few short weeks. Never having done this before I find myself struggling with feelings from sadness to excitement. It’s been just the two if us since he was five. It’s going to be very different without him.

    1. CharlotteSue says:

      Boy, I’m giving out the {{{hugs}}} today! It is a rollercoaster of emotions, for sure!

  2. Jane Ballenger says:

    We are still in the adjustment stage. We cheated a little bit because Ashley attended college locally so we had the PRIVILEGE of having her for an extra 4 years! Oh how we miss her!!! Especially her older sibling who is having a very very difficult time letting her go. This is the first time in their lives that they have lived over 10 miles from one another and it is a very difficult thing to watch her grieve her confidant, friend, and sister. Give all the children a BIG Indiana hug from us and we will be watching to see just what the Lord holds in store for your precious Caleb. I remember the day he was born!
    Much love,

    1. CharlotteSue says:

      It’s even harder when we see our children going through the adjustment! {{{Hugs!}}}

  3. This made me cry. We have 11 children and 4 have flown the nest with another one coming up soon. I don’t let myself get emotional too much. Life is too busy. But you made me stop and think and have a good cry myself. One day life won’t be so busy and I may have too much time to think. Well, I will take that when it comes…..
    Blessings, Leane

    1. CharlotteSue says:

      {{{Hugs}}} (and passing a Kleenex!)

  4. Annie Carbutt says:

    You always inspire me. I’m so hoping that someday soon I’ll get to be a mother, and when it comes, I don’t want to let one minute slip by me. I want to enjoy it all. Some people try to tell me that I’ll change my outlook once the kids come. “I’m sorry to break it to you, but it’s really hard and not as fun as you think,” they say. But then I think of you, and I just smile and tell them that I’m excited anyway. It’s going to be great because I’m going to choose to see it that way. Thanks for all you do!

    1. CharlotteSue says:

      Aww, thank you so much, Annie. You inspire and encourage others with your sunny attitude!

  5. This topic has hit us square in the face just a couple weeks ago. We delivered our sons 2000 miles from us. Our two sons have just entered a new phase in life, college. Both….gone at the same time. My grieving is for the time that I will not have with them everyday. We home educated and I would not have changed that in anyway. What precious memories we have to carry us through!!! The toughest part is listening to their struggles as they “bravely” go forth each new day….ever stretching and continuing to learn. For me…”watching from afar”, is “seeing” the men they are becoming and implimenting the life lessons we tried to instill in them. Grieving yes, yet ever praying, watchful and looking forward to the next stage in life for all of us. I left them with this verse from Psalm 32:8 “I (God) will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I (God) will counsel
    you with My eye upon you.” Blessings, Marcie

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