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Thankful for Thanksgiving Break

Moms of freshmen in college – WE MADE IT! Well, we made it to Thanksgiving Break. Whether this is your first child who went off to college, or any number after that, what a meaningful milestone this is! Much has happened in the past three months, beyond our child adjusting to new classes, dorm life and making new friends. More than us settling into a new routine at home, figuring out how to stay connected without being overbearing and maybe focusing a little more on ourselves. On a deeper level both our new college kid, and we, have grown. We both faced this new season and emerged with feelings of pride, confidence and (let’s be honest) a touch of relief. Together we made it.


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That’s why I’m extra thankful as this Thanksgiving break approaches. Yes it’s time to reconnect and soak up their presence in our homes, their smiles and hugs and stories. But while we appreciate that meaningful growth has happened all around, we might also gratefully notice that the important stuff hasn’t changed. Truly. If we as parents invested of our hearts and souls in building foundations of love, trust, caring, understanding and all that goes into fostering everlasting bonds, college can’t shake that. Nothing can. Here are 10 things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving break:

❤︎ Ben – our Thanksgiving baby who made me a boy mom. And our second child who taught us that having your youngest go to college does not really make your nest empty. The nature of the nest changes with time, but that change began years ago when babies turned into toddlers who turned into children who spent days in school, and eventually teens in high school embracing their growing independence. 

❤︎ Mia – our firstborn, the daughter who changed my life forever and blessed me with the best role I could have ever imagined – Mama. The one who opened my eyes and my heart to my true calling in life. Mia taught me that, while they will always be our daughters, somewhere along the way they can also become our most beautiful and best friends. 

❤︎ David – my husband who has sort of taken a backseat to our kids over the years. That can happen to husbands, because they go from being the center of our universe to making way for another (or 2 or more) to assume that role. When kids go off to college the scale tips more back towards our husbands and I’m grateful for the chance to rediscover some of the reasons I chose him as my best friend and husband.

❤︎ Family – with the kids coming home for a nice stretch and having the holiday to celebrate, we get to surround ourselves with family, and extended family, and feel a deeper sense of appreciation for just how precious these people are to us. Even if we bicker and annoy each other, because after all, no one can do that quite like your family 💝

❤︎ Change – it can be daunting, but it can also be so good. And sometimes it’s all about how you look at it. If we embrace it and search for the good, the shiny essence, we can often find something unexpectedly wonderful. I could never quite picture what life would be like once both kids were in college. But by having faith and joining them (figuratively of course) as they set off on this journey, I’ve been able to share in their exciting new experiences while discovering new passions for myself. 

❤︎ Perspective – Sometimes our expectations and how we see the world really affect how we feel in different situations. As we approach Thanksgiving break, I’m grateful for the gift of finding broader perspective on what it means to have our kids in college. A few years ago, before Mia left for college, I began listening to and reading friends’ perspectives on this. Most left me with that gulp of sadness between my heart and my throat (in my family we refer to that as our throat-heart), so I did some personal reflection and exploration of my own thoughts and feelings. You can read more about what I discovered in The Nest is Never Really Empty. In short, the only thing that really changed for us is that my kids don’t live full-time in our home. We text and talk and stay connected on the little things and offer support through the bigger things. If anything, I’d say we gained a deeper sense of appreciation for each other and that is a true Thanksgiving blessing! 

❤︎ Self growth – The past few months may have had some emptiness, but they also offered us a chance to focus a little more on ourselves. Before this, we may not have had enough time or we may have been blissfully immersed with our soon-to-be college kid. Tuning into our interests, passions and goals is not only healthy, it can be the start of an exciting new chapter for us. 

❤︎ New friends – One of the passions I rediscovered is my love of writing (thus this blog!). One of the unexpected gifts that has come along with this journey is a whole new community of moms, women in all stages of mamahood. I’m learning – and helping others – and most of all, I’m thoroughly enjoying some beautiful new friendships. Key insight – it’s never too late to make new friends!

❤︎ Old friends – These months leading up to Thanksgiving break have opened the door to invest more in established, cherished friends. Some were even adjusting to kids going away to college and we’ve been able to share our experiences and emotions and offer the kind of support that only close friends can.

❤︎ This moment in time – What a gift this moment is! By “moment” I mean this little block of time, this break where we get to pause and have our babies back with us in our home. Sure, we have been connected while they were away, much more than we were able to stay in touch with our parents during our college days. That in itself has been a huge blessing. But there’s something special about physical presence. After some time apart, being all together is a little sweeter and we are able to savor just how precious they, and this moment, truly are. 

So Moms of college kids – WE MADE IT. We have a little more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

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2 Comments

  1. A very heartwarming read! Thankyou!! Every word resonates my heart and the same expert!!

    1. Thank you so much, Monisha 💝 It’s reassuring to know others feel this! I hope you enjoyed your time together over Thanksgiving and wishing you a beautiful Christmas break with your college baby!

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