My College:
Dear Adina

Sad About My New Grad Moving Away

Adina Glickman

Dear Adina,

My son is a senior in college and his current job search is really on my mind. I’d love to know how to remain excited about and supportive of his future opportunities, when it’s highly likely he will be moving very far away. I want to be so happy for him. But honestly there is part of me that feels a little sad.

Dear Parent,

You don’t need advice. You need a big hug and a soft shoulder to lean on while you feel those sad feelings!

Because of course you’re sad. When our babies go far away, we mourn the loss. We mourn the sweet smell of their baby necks. We mourn the twinkle in their eye when we’ve said yes to seconds on dessert. We mourn their angst and their anger and their gratitude, and everything in between.

Though you will always and forever be aware of the difference between having him close (and younger) and having him far away (and older), your acute mourning won’t last forever. It will gradually be replaced by the new relationship you’ll have together, mano a mama. That wonderful relationship will be filled with his adult experiences and will bring you a new kind of joy that is as unique as the joy you felt when he took his first steps and fell into your lap laughing.

But until that transition takes root and that new relationship has a chance to evolve, give yourself the space and time to do your grieving so that it doesn’t become his problem, or worse yet, That Which Defines Your Relationship. As your instincts are telling you, being excited and supportive are the right things to be feeling and sharing with him. The rest — the sorrow and uncertainty — is for you to bring to the other adults in your life, maybe a support group (you’re not alone), or a coach or counselor at some point.

The job description for parenting changes all the time. And the job description for parenting an adult is just as confusing as the ones you’ve barely mastered all down the line since they were little. Just when you figure out what your infant/baby/child/tween/teen needs from you as a parent, they go and start needing something different! And just as you figured out how to parent a college student, your new job is to parent a young adult who makes decisions without even taking your feelings into account… just like you, at some point, decided to stop basing your decisions on what made your own parent(s) sad or happy.

The small print in this current job description reads something like this: Show your children that you’re a whole person who can make your own happiness, grieve your own losses, and take care of yourself. Then they’ll know that that’s what it means to be an adult.


Adina Signature

Have a question? Ask Adina

Adina Glickman is the founder of Affinity Coaching, which offers academic, life and career coaching to young adults. She is the former director of learning strategies at Stanford University and is the co-founder and director of the Academic Resilience Consortium, an association of faculty, staff and students dedicated to understanding and promoting student resilience. Learn more at

Comments are closed.

  • Have a question? Ask Adina
  • 22 hours ago

    A great opportunity from CollegiateParent writer Jennifer Sullivan of Fast Forward College Coaching.Do you know a high school grad or college student who would love an IKEA blue bag filled with college essentials? The IKEA blue bags are A MUST for college campus living. Parent-tested, they're perfect for move-in, as a laundry bag, or to store cleaning supplies and extra sheets under the bed. The bag also includes a FREE COPY of the book Sharing the Transition to College!ENTER ... See MoreSee Less
    View on Facebook

    23 hours ago

    MOTHER'S DAY for a SANDWICH GENERATION DAUGHTERI’m hoping it’s not the case, but I hold deeply within my heart the thought that this may very well be the last Mother’s Day that I have my Mom here with me.She is over 90 years old and slowing down a great deal. Her mind is sharp, but her body is starting to betray her spirit. She has been loved fiercely by so many throughout her lifetime and she now wonders aloud why God has let her live this long.I know why.Because she has served as an example of what a wonderful mother does and does not do.She is patient. I struggle with this in my own life, as a mother and a wife.She is gracious and truly lives by the adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I try to embody her generosity, but often have difficulty holding my tongue.She is full of faith and has no doubts that when she leaves this Earth, she will find herself in a place of heavenly peace, reunited with loved ones who have gone before her. On many days I grapple with whether such a place exists.She willingly and joyfully raised a brood of children, putting aside her own wants and needs for decades, solely for the happiness and success of her husband, children, and grandchildren. I am sometimes melancholy about opportunities I gave up while raising my own children.And as I think about a Mother’s Day without her next year, I wonder if I’ve been a good enough daughter. As a mother myself, I know how much I cherish my children’s presence and the various ways they reach out to me. Could I have done a better job of reaching out to my own mother over the years?Have I thanked my Mom enough? Can you ever thank a Mom enough? For all their sacrifices and comfort measures? For their concern and unconditional love?And I wonder if my children think I’ve been patient enough. Do they wish we could have a do-over on some of the days of their childhoods, like I do?Did I listen enough? Did I try to sweep away uncomfortable feelings too quickly? Did I let them get away with not doing enough chores, because they had so many activities on top of schoolwork? Did we reward enough of the right behaviors or promote any that really weren’t valuable?Now that my children are adults, is it too late to mold them any further? To set good examples that might still affect their lives?I do not think it’s too late.My own mother’s bravery and positivity serve as a beacon for how I want to move forward into old age.I know I am beyond lucky to be her child, and I strive every day to be as good of a mother to my own children as she has been to hers.-Shared Anonymously via CollegiateParent ... See MoreSee Less
    View on Facebook
  • Don't Miss Out!

    Get engaging stories and helpful information all year long. Join our college parent newsletter!

    Subscribe Today