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.

Yours,

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 adinaglickman.com.

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    21 hours ago
    CollegiateParent

    Before she went back to campus for second semester, my college student sat in this chair and talked to me while I worked in the kitchen (a.k.a., my “home office”).

    It was a lovely, unexpected conversation filled with looking back and looking forward…a belated Christmas gift to me.

    My daughter is the only member of our family who ever sits in this chair. She once told me, “I love sitting here and talking to you while you cook.”

    Now, though, my student is sitting in other chairs…in college classrooms, at her dorm room desk, even in a new chair at her on-campus lifeguarding job. Yet this chair in our kitchen waits for her, waits for next time.

    This is the rhythm and the cadence of loving and parenting college, career, and military kids. They come and they go, and in between times, we hold space for them.

    Space in our homes, space in our hearts. But this space is not empty, so much as it has room for what’s still to come.

    -shared by Guilty Chocoholic Mama - Elizabeth Spencer
    ... See MoreSee Less

    Before she went back to campus for second semester, my college student sat in this chair and talked to me while I worked in the kitchen (a.k.a., my “home office”).  It was a lovely, unexpected conversation filled with looking back and looking forward…a belated Christmas gift to me.  My daughter is the only member of our family who ever sits in this chair. She once told me, “I love sitting here and talking to you while you cook.”  Now, though, my student is sitting in other chairs…in college classrooms, at her dorm room desk, even in a new chair at her on-campus lifeguarding job. Yet this chair in our kitchen waits for her, waits for next time.  This is the rhythm and the cadence of loving and parenting college, career, and military kids. They come and they go, and in between times, we hold space for them.  Space in our homes, space in our hearts. But this space is not empty, so much as it has room for what’s still to come.  -shared by Guilty Chocoholic Mama - Elizabeth Spencer

    Comment on Facebook

    Elizabeth, your last line is perfect, beautiful friend!!! 💗💗

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    Incredibly beautiful and makes me so sad too. Living this myself

    Dear CollegiateParent, thank you so much for sharing this! What a privilege it is hold space for our coming-and-going big kids. 💛

    I love this💙💙

    Beautiful

    Beautiful!!

    Oh my heart… mush ❤️

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