Fall is an interesting time of year for college kids and their parents. The freshmen have been on campus long enough to have made some friends (hopefully), and the returning students are back into the swing of their old routines. That usually means fewer calls, texts, and FaceTime conversations with Mom, Dad, and siblings. Although it is slightly painful for my Mama heart—okay, maybe on some days it’s more like getting stabbed—I rejoice knowing my darling sons and daughters are thriving, surrounded by people they connect with and enjoy.
For some kids, however, this is about the time when the excitement of their new adventures begins to fade. They’ve had to figure out how to survive sniffles, coughs, fevers, and homesickness by themselves. Roommates they thought they’d connect with aren’t quite as perfect of a match as they seemed like they would be during the summer social media interactions. Homework is tedious and time-consuming, and there aren’t nearly as many grades to raise the average as there were in high school. Of course, the calls and texts home that have lost the sense of joy and satisfaction hurt my Mama heart way worse than gaps in communications due to contentment. When my kids hurt, I hurt. When they struggle with schoolwork, friendships, spiritual issues, or loneliness, the first thing I want to do is fix their problems, which is not easy when they are far away from home. I am a Mama. I have been a Mama for more years than I wasn’t one. It’s a big part of who I am. However, I have to remind myself that first I am a child of God and I have been for my entire life. Before I offer advice to my children, I must fall into the arms of my heavenly father by listening to what He is telling me through scripture, prayer, and worship, letting Him carry me through my role as Mama. Then, I can confidently encourage my kids when they need it, allowing God’s wisdom to show through me.
Our college kids are yearning to return to their homes that are comfortable, safe, and familiar, where there are sincere smiles, quality conversations, warm hugs, and yummy food. Parents are counting the days until Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks when we can sit in our kitchens late at night and eat ice cream with our grown children, giving us glimpses of shared giggles and tears from the past, and anticipation of what’s to come in the future. Our rejoicing reunions will be here before we know it! Let’s remember to fall into the arms of Jesus and let His colors be displayed through us, so we can shine His light for our families this season.