“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”

~ Robert Munsch (One of my favorite booksof all time!)

“I’m so glad you haven’t forced me to be your best friend,” she says, not unkindly but without realizing the impact of her declaration. Why did her words sting when being her best friend had never even been on my periphery??

As I washed dishes and she dried, my mini-me, my first born, my only daughter continued. “I know so many people who say their mom is their best friend, but I haven’t wanted you to be my friendI needed you to be my mother.

and off I drifted to another season….

*
*
*

When she was little, she dangled friendship to get what she wanted: “If you don’t let me–

  • eat cookies for breakfast
  • or watch tv
  • or buy something from the Disney Store
  • or whatever else she wanted in the moment–

I won’t be your friend anymore.”

Unimpressed with her manipulation, my standard response was always “I don’t wanna be your friend, I’m already your mother!”

She was leveraging what was most valuable to her, friendship. To withhold it from me (in her mind) was costly. It meant something.

*
*
*

“Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
~ Proverbs 22:6

To the best of our ability, we’ve been intentional parents. God graced us with three amazing children and our heartfelt desire has been to steward their lives responsibly and to honor Christ as we parent them. Though we’ve made plenty of mistakes and I can look back over my shoulder and wish in some cases I’d done things differently, we’ve parented with purpose and forethought.

I haven’t pursued my children’s friendship on purpose.

But as they’ve grown into young adults–14, 16 and 18–I delight in them on another level. I enjoy conversations with them, thankful they’ll talk with me and at times reveal those secret places that rarely make it from heart to lips.

I don’t just love them, I like them, and although sometimes our respective relationships feel like friendship, I’m aware I’m their mom first and always.

While anyone can be their friend, I’m the only person who conceived and carried them for nine months, then delivered them from my body to this world.

They’ll have hundreds of friends throughout their lives but they’ll always have just one mother. Or as they refer to me sometimes, one birth giver :) .

*
*
*

She’s still talking and explaining when I return to present; she’s not aware I’ve been gone for a while. Time is a curious thing–when we’re living it, eternities can languish in the seconds; but once a moment falls into our past, no matter how long we waited for it, time is measured in blinks.

Wasn’t it just three blinks ago when my vernix-covered baby girl was swaddled and placed in my arms, eyes wide and lips pursed as she inhaled new life?

And now she’s headed to college??

She’s moving from one season to the next and she’s intoxicated with the soon-to-be-realities of freedom and adventure and discovery. She’s eager and expectant and ready, and though I’m a little reticent and reluctant, I’m more thrilled to watch her walk through open door.

She’s become a Kingdom liver, a Kingdom builder, and in her I realize more than ever before, we’re not made for this world anyway.

So I hold her with open hand (though my fingers are cupped) remembering that we haven’t raised her for ourselves but for someone else, and really, for Someone else. And my heart whispers that familiar refrain “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

Best friend or not.

Your turn: I’d love to hear your thoughts and also to ask the best advice you can give a high school graduate entering college; what was the best advice you received at this milestone?  What do you think is critical for every incoming freshman to know?  THANK YOU in advance for taking time to share–it might become fodder for an upcoming post!

by Robin Dance, PENSIEVE, who probably could use a hug right about now :) .

comments:
share:

comments (closed):

  1. 1

    That book always makes me cry, but I love it, too.

    What a great thing for your daughter to share with you! When we took our daughter to college (a brand new experience for our family) the administration there made sure to tell the parents not to be helicopter parents – especially the moms. “No hovering! Let them immerse themselves in college life. Don’t encourage them to come home every weekend. Don’t call continuously. Let them call you. We want them to become a part of the college community.” On and on it went. When my husband and I drove home (which was only 40 minutes down the road) we discussed the “helicopter mom”. We knew I was going to be there when my daughter needed me, that was a given. But I was going to make sure I didn’t call her too often. You know what I found out? I am a helicopter mom. Not the kind that is constantly seen and heard. I’m the kind that is just over the horizon and can be reached immediately when needed. The rescue helicopter? Maybe. She needed rescuing some nights and would call to cry to me. Or some days she’d need to share something funny that happened in class and would call to let her daddy know about it. Now, of course, I would call every now and then just to chat because that is what we do best! Mostly she would call me first. I love that she chose us for friends. She just graduated in May, is married and has a sweet daughter of her own now whom I keep as often as possible. ;)

    I believe keeping the communication lines open will always be the best advice I received. Hover just over the horizon so they’ll know you’ll be there whenever they may need you.

    • 2

      :) Rescue helicopter…just precious :) . We just went through college pre-orientation and Administration said the same things–let your kids BE! I talked to several moms who were basket cases but their kids were just fine. I’m praying for them especially because they don’t seem to want to let go just yet :/.

      p.s. I can’t wait to keep my grands one day!!! Love that you’re in the midst of THAT!

  2. 3

    I just always made myself available, hover over the horizon as you put it. Best friends, not back in college day and during the first years of marriage I was still her mother. But slowly what has changed is my daughter who now is a missionary in Papua New Guinea has become my best friend because she now has a teen age daughter. oh we still slip into the mother daughter role sometimes but more often then not we find ourselves in the sister in the Lord role…which is deeper then friends, or even mother daughter role. Yes I gave birth to that sweet daughter after 7 miscarriages and life was never the same for us. She took captive our hearts. But she was never fully mine, she belong to the Lord and way back then i knew the day would come when she and I would slip over into a different role. there is great respect and love between us so much so she can tell me when i am being sarcastic toward her Dad. I love her honesty with me, her willingness to call when she has been encourage outside of me through others. we had this little song i sang till she was too big for it, I love you Tara, Oh yes I do, I love you Tara, oh yes I do, please don’t leave me when you grow up, Cause mommy loves you so much. I don’t sing this anymore for she is grown up. Thats when we slip into the relationship we have now. She now sings that song to her kids….sweetest things i ever heard.

    • 4

      Oooo, Betty, that she sings the song you sang to her to her own babies? So, so very sweet! It sounds like you have a wonderful relationship and perspective.

  3. 5

    “Be. You. … Live your own life, exclusively.”

    I wish I had done this and hadn’t chased after my own assumptions of what other’s thought I *should* be, or what I thought would make others happy. Daughter’s sometimes think they’ll upset their mother’s by disagreeing (with clothes a mother has suggested, or whatever), and it’s the best think they can do to just declare what they like and receive freedom to live in the space of their own uniquely created selves.

    I do think children can be friends with their parents. When we embrace what our relationship is, not what we think it *should* (or shouldn’t) be, we are more open to receive gifts we couldn’t otherwise imagine. I’m friends with my mom after years of resenting her, and it’s the most amazing miracle only provided by God as He’s helped me to step out and live freely without thinking I was responsible for her happiness.

    Rich blessings, Robin, as your relationship with your daughter evolves, and as she begins to fly from your nest, and as you trust your Father for her safe keeping…

    • 6

      Amy, this is one thing my daughter does so much better than me–embrace who she is! I admire that!

      I’m so thankful for YOU that your resentment has faded to friendship for your mom; redemption for years lost.

      Oh, and I have to smile–there’s a reason I tacked on “yet” at the end of my post title ;) . Thank you for your encouragement to continue trusting the Lord :) .

  4. 7

    This was so lovely. I appreciate hearing this perspective. What a blessed family you have! Sending you a cyber hug and offering up prayers of thanksgiving for your words today. Bless you!

  5. 9

    I’m writing this with tears in my eyes. Your post is so touching. So true. And it’s so amazing to see what an incredible job you’ve done raising all of your kids. I hope as my toddler turns into that college freshman (it’ll take her like 45 more years to get there, right?!!), I will share your wise, grace-filled perspective. (And coming from someone who personally claims my mom as one of my closest, best friends, you have many wonderful, rich years of friendship ahead of you with your daughter!)

    My advice to soon-to-be-college students is a quote that I tried to impress deeply upon my Honors English 11 students when I was teaching. It’s a quote that I try to live by, intentionally, prayerfully, and whole-heartedly. It comes from Henry David Thoreau:
    “I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die discover that I had not lived.”

    • 10

      Beth, j’adore! J’adore!! That quote is PERFECT and judging from that alone I’d wager YOU were a wonderful teacher!

      I can sense friendship with Rachel already; it’s impossible not to :) . BUT, I don’t push it, I even resist it (now), expectant of “wonderful, rich years of friendship ahead of” us.

      Thank you for commenting!

  6. 11

    I have just found your site and was amazed that you put into words what I have been trying to tell others for years. I have 4 daughters( 23-29), and have always stressed this point of mother vs. friend to them. I will re-read this post often! Thank you for finding my words!

  7. 13
    Samantha says:

    I’m not a Mom, Robin, but I’m every inch a daughter, aunt and friend. You’ve got it right. I think sometimes when we are little girls we get our hearts hurt in a way that resembles a splinter in a finger, small and insignificant to a very attentive and caring Mom but giant Tia little girl’s heart. My guess is that your daughter has a splinter buried in her heart somewhere relative to friendship. At some point she’ll solve it and she’ll release you from this little tug of war. You sound like an exquisite Mom so just begin by exposing your heart to her in small ways- your joys and hurt places.

    You are beautiful.

    Samantha

    • 14

      Samantha,

      Hmmm, I’m not quite sure how to respond :) . I’m not exactly wounded by my daughter because friendship hasn’t been what I felt was best for her (or me, for that matter) as she matured through middle and high school. Even in college, she’ll be under my authority though deemed an adult by the law and by all practical purposes. It won’t be until “later” when I think we will arrive as true friends.

      In the meantime, I’m delighting in this relationship we DO have; imperfect but perfect for us–does that make sense?

      Your analogy is poignant, though; I just think it’s not quite what I was trying to express this time.

      And you? YOU? You have a beautiful soul, no doubt :) .

  8. 15

    I can so relate to you, having sent two daughters off to college. One thing we learned from daughter number 1 is that the first time home for an extended break can be tough. She went 1100 miles from home and so we did not see her until Christmas. We were all so excited, but the break was tough. She has been on her own, and there were some adjustments to be made. Our second daughter, it was the same story, home at Christmas. She had a rough break; she was sooo homesick and had in her mind what the perfect break would be like, she’d spend time with us, see all her friends, but it just didn’t go as she had hoped. So we forewarn the kids that coming home is good, but can be hard sometimes as we all experience growing pains and figure out our new roles. The one expression my girls cling to is “For this I have Jesus.” No matter how homesick, or challenging a roomie situation is, Jesus is the one constant in their lives. They are always welcome to call, but they learned Jesus is the most important thing they take with them everywhere!! I will be praying for you as you prepare for this transition in your life.

    • 16

      Brenda, I’ll be sure to share your experience with my own daughter (and husband). She’ll be relatively close to us (less than an hour) but we don’t expect to see her til Fall break; that’s who she is. I love your reminder about the constancy of Jesus; remembering that will probably salve some of the growing pains :) .

  9. 17

    Wow, I read this post and immediately want to call my mom. I am not a mother, but I have somewhat recently been in the position where my relationship with my mother tends to towards the friendship realm. I am not always in need of a mother, so our conversations tend to stray into an area where I am giving her advice. It is now such a blessing to have her as a friend, but also a mother where I know that she will always have my best interest at heart. I can’t say the same thing for all my friends.

    As for advice, tell her get to know people different that her, find kindred spirits to share life with, don’t spend all her time in her dorm room, and find a community of believers that she can grow in. And as she begins to realize that perhaps you do more than she thinks you do, that she can develop a humble spirit that allows her to share that with you. I pray that as you release her into the world, that you would have faith that God fills those gaps that perhaps you feel like you failed as a parent and that he has a wonderful plan for her life.

    Bless you as you go through this season. I don’t think I realized how hard it was for my parents as I went off to college. I just thought my mom was being over dramatic about it.

    Larissa

    • 18

      Larissa, I certainly can’t speak for your mom but it’s a pretty big deal, especially when the first baby paves the way. :)

      And I’ll be sure to pass along your advice! Thanks :) .

  10. 19

    Get involved (if the school she’s going to has a Campus Crusade for Christ, I highly recommend it!), make good friends, and enjoy every moment! College was the best time of my life!

  11. 21

    This post made my heart swell. I am going to be a senior in college- it doesn’t seem real. And I remember, like it was yesterday my mom how she was dealing with me graduating high school. I am the oldest of 5 children, and my mom took it hard. She has lived her life in such a way, for me and my siblings. As three years of my college life have gone by in what feels like seconds, I recieved a lot of advice. I think through everyone shouting what they thought I needed to hear at me I learned this: I cannot be what anyone wants me to be (as one starts to pick their major one will get a lot of suggestions of: ” this is best for you”, or “this is what you are good at, so you should do_________.”) I needed to find what I loved, what God created me to do, and I needed to do it. Not for me, not for anyone else, but for my creator. As I have survived my three years going into my fourth, and after that I will still have one more year left I saw the spiritual battle go on inside of me, the world pulling at me, people pulling at me, loved ones pulling at me, and I had to search hard and find the quiet places to hear my Lord Jesus whisper what He wanted of me. And as I began to do His general will He has carried me this far. Sometimes there is no advice needed, sometimes just love to let your loved one fly, to see the world, to be there when your loved one falls, to pick him or her back up and point them to Jesus. Your loved one is not done needing you. It is just the beginning of Chapter two. I know my mom felt like her job was over when I graduated she struggled with she is grown up now. My mom was very wrong in that; I am not done growing up. I don’t think any of us will ever be. I still needed my mom and I will always need her; just in different ways. I won’t need her to help me write my name, like in Kindergarten, but I needed her to teach me how to write a check. I won’t need her to teach me how to ride a bike, but I needed her to teach me the path to my new school and back home. I won’t need her to put a band-aid on my boo-boo, but I need her to still whisper she loves me and remind me God loves me when sometimes the world shouts that He doesn’t.

  12. 23

    =) That book is also one of my favorite all time books. I have a little sister that is 14 years younger than me and we read it at her baby shower, and I cried then. I still cry everytime I read it to my 8 year old, knowing that it won’t be too much longer that he’ll even let me read a bedtime story to him. It is scary to think of having to let go. But God is always there for each of us.
    My advice? Live… Be you. Love with your whole heart, not being afraid it will be broken. Dream big, because you will only achieve what you can dream. The world is a scary place, but it is also full of adventure and life lessons. Above all, hold on to God. He will be your best friend, your helpmate, your security blanket, your rescue.

    • 24

      Lauren, the first time I read that book, it was actually read to a group of Senior adults; oh, my…I had no children and I cried! So, it has dual meaning when I hear it; I always look at both ends of life.

      Love your advice. :)

  13. 25

    I love this post. I, too, have a sweet relationship with my mother, and one that is based more on mothering than friendship. The friendship is there, of course, but I really need her to be my mother. (Case in point: At a heartbreaking time at the end of the semester, I barely made it back into my dorm room before I was calling her. I don’t know why; I hadn’t collected myself enough to actually say anything, and she had to listen to me sob incoherently for a good several minutes – but there is something about pain that desperately screams “I need my Mommy!” Your daughter will have those times, too, and knowing that you are there and listening will make them so much more bearable).

    I think Brenda had a great piece of advice – give each other grace for the transition of moving to college and coming home on breaks. I wasn’t expecting to need time to transition back home, but I did. And I’ve learned that it’s okay and natural – and comforting when everyone understands that it’s a welcome, but sometimes difficult, transition. And really, I think the best thing my parents have ever done for me was always telling me “We love you no matter what.” Their love is not dependent on my success or my failures – and that makes them safe people to come to, to be me with, no matter what is going on in my life.

    • 26

      Megan,

      I especially like how your refer to your parents as “safe;” to me, that’s high praise :) . But it makes me sad to think many college-age children DON’T feel like their parents are a shelter, a refuge, a safe harbor.

      Love and grace seem to be a thread weaving together everyone’s advice. Isn’t that beautiful?

  14. 27

    You have no idea how much this meant to me today. We are having tough problems with our oldest who has been away at college and has temporarily thrown aside his beliefs PS I love that book too

    • 28

      we have two sons who have
      “temporarily thrown away their beliefs”
      as you put it so well.
      i understand the pain of this and the longing for our children to walk with God again.
      My husband and I have learned to love and welcome our kids at all times. We don’t lecture, critisise or comment on their choices unless they bring it up. We listen a lot to our youngest as he is home for the summer.
      We see that Jesus loves us all the time and always welcomes us to Him. He does not wait for us to “smarten up first” So we want to be like that for all our kids.
      I pray for peace for you as you wait and love
      Jill

    • 29

      {{hugs}}

      Sometimes a tested faith, a sifted faith, a r e s i s t e d faith becomes the strongest of all. This time of the “in-between” is excruciating, and I pray for you and your family to experience peace and love “until”….

  15. 30

    Beautiful daughter, beautiful mama–love that pic of you two and this glimpse into your journey together. If my story ends up including a daughter, I will be calling you, Robin!

  16. 32
    Cheryl Youngquist says:

    With all the pressure on college entrance and the cost, the advice from a mentor that my daughter enjoyed the most was, “You can always come home.”. He gave her the freedom to leave college and know that life would continue. There would always be a faith community that would receive her with open arms. Three years later, she’s headed overseas on a mission internship and will graduate next spring. She does always come home and worships with the choir. She was launched into mission with freedom to follow her heart.

  17. 33

    I love what you’ve written. My eldest child is also a daughter, but she is only 7. I hope she’ll one day say something similar to me. I wouldn’t mind if she considers me her best friend… but FIRST I want to make sure I’m always BEING Mama. ;) You’ve definitely accomplished what I desire. YEAY for you!!!!!

    I would recommend to your daughter that she begin her Secondary education (especially the first year) with ONLY Gen Ed subjects. I say this with great conviction and add: make sure you leave some (even lots) of room for changing your direction. Even if you feel completely sure that what you think is going to happen in the future IS going to happen.

    I say that because I began college fully believing I was going to become an artist (or at least an Art Teacher). But I didn’t. My path was altered by choice and by Guidance and it has definitely been BEST for me!

  18. 34
    kimberly says:

    thank you for sharing this sweet post! Our oldest daughter is leaving for college in a couple of months and you have so articulately many of my emotions from the last few weeks.

    I will re-read this often. I am so excited to see what God has in store for our beautiful daughter!

    thanks again (i confess I have shed a few tears!)

  19. 35

    This was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  20. 36

    Oh, Robin! How I love this. I feel drunk on all the parenting smarts I’ve received from you this week. I love this. LOVE THIS.

    Here’s to striving to be mamas first and foremost! {clink, clink!}

    I love you! Also? You and your daughter are stunning. And gorgeous and radiant!

  21. 37

    When our daughter began College she had already lived away from us for a year.
    I realized she needed to know that I BELIEVED IN HER. I told her that I knew she was capable enough to ‘do’ college. I encouraged her to remember that she trusted God, that this was where He had led her; she was wise enough to be able to ask questions when she did not understand something or needed help.
    She already knew she would have to work very hard to accomplish her goal because learning was hard for her.
    In 5 years she became a wonderful teacher, especially with special needs children.
    Today she has taught for 7 years, is married and currently at home with 2 small children and she is an amazing person. She and her husband are talking about going to Ghana to teach.
    We did not talk talk often when she was in colledge but now we talk often and I am still her mom.

  22. 38

    As a 23 year old daughter- and recent college grad- your post really touched me today.

    As a daughter who yearned for, craved, and needed my mom to be my mother and parent first and foremost (instead of another girl friend), I just want you to know how wonderful and special it is that you’ve been there for your daughter in the right way.

    As she’s starting to become an adult and gain more independence from her family, your relationship is likely to change. I can’t understand yet what it must feel like to let go- bit by bit- of having total authority over your child and watching them enter this fallen, broken world on their own. But it seems to me that you’ve been an amazing parent and prepared her for this new season of her life- the rest of her life- the best that you could.

    Now you have the privilege- though it must be hard- to step back and watch her be the woman you’ve helped form her to be and that God created her to be. You can always offer your advice and wisdom to her, hoping she’ll take it and learn from your experiences, but also being there for her if she doesn’t.

    Although your mother-daughter relationship will change, don’t ever stop being her parent. I know the saying that as children grow up and become adults in the “real world” they can finally become friends with their parents. I don’t think that’s entirely true or necessarily a good thing. She can and will make plenty of other friends, but there’s only one person who can be her mother. I hope she appreciates the role that you play- but for those children/or young adults who don’t, trust me, they would notice it if you weren’t there for them. And it would have a negative impact.

    I’m so encouraged to see mothers who embrace and live up to the high calling and privilege that is motherhood. Those who accept their child as a gift and blessing from God, but also accept that they belong to Him and their lives are ultimately for Him. It’s been discouraging to see so many parents today who have children because it’s the right thing to do following getting married or it sounds fun at the time but they’re not ready to commit to the work it requires to raise, nurture and train another human being. It’s awful how many parents in my generation just aim to keep their children distracted, busy or happy (even if that means playing the role of a friend rather than an authority figure) so that they don’t have to put forth more effort. What an encouragement to see mothers truly there and involved! It might be tough love, but it seems that you’ve loved her the way she really needed to be. And it sounds like she understands and appreciates that- praise God!

    It wasn’t long ago that I started my freshman year of college (in Fall 2006). The best advice I got from my parents and grandparents was to take advantage of every opportunity presented to me. That included taking advantage of every class and every year I was blessed to attend school. I was encouraged to study hard and appreciate the education I was getting; to keep the future in mind and work hard so that I’d be proud of myself and have more opportunities available to me upon graduation; to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things (such as different sports, classes, school events, clubs, studying abroad) and meet new people (in a sorority, the dorm, local church, a part time job, a Christian student group) and basically to not pass anything up because I was scared and it was new (i’m talking about safe, appropriate things of course). I was reminded that the college experience was new to every other freshman and I was no different. I can say that I truly branched out and took advantage of almost every opportunity presented to me and I don’t have any regrets! Especially getting the chance to study abroad in Italy one summer.

    The advice that I would give someone based on my college experience is don’t do anything you feel pressured or expected to do if it’s truly not your calling. Many different people will be trying to direct you along the path they think is best (even if they’re well-intentioned and trying to be helpful). But we have to figure out what we’re good at, what we’re passionate about, and what we enjoy doing for ourselves. We alone can realize from God what his personalized plan is for us. Choosing your degree, internships, and future jobs based on pleasing anyone else isn’t a wise decision. Always seek God’s plan for your life and follow your heart (or the Holy Spirit, rather). Also, when faced with worldly temptations (there are so many that present themselves in college, especially these days) remember whose you are and that you were made for more. I purposefully chose not to follow the crowd and what was popular among other college girls. It wasn’t easy because most didn’t understand or couldn’t relate to the decision of living for God instead of yourself and the world. But i’m so glad that I obeyed God every time the Spirit nudged me that something was wrong, dangerous or unhealthy. I’m so glad that I didn’t settle for less than God’s best for my life.

    I hope for the best college years for your daughter! And for you :-)

  23. 39

    Beautiful post… I read this and my heart aches…. at the desire of always wanting a mother to guide me, encourage, help etc instead I always seemed to be the mother guiding my own mother.
    AND
    for my 3 precious daughters, I hope I can continue to be their Mother and not their friend! The one they can always count on and find a resting place… that will always lead them to Jesus.
    Please share a post sometime on how you encouraged or trained up your children to love Jesus!!
    Thanks for sharing your heart. x

  24. 40

    I think this book is the sweetest one I’ve read. While I don’t have kids, I nannied for a family for 2 school years. They had this book, and it was one of my favorites to read to him.

  25. 41

    May I say as a mother of older children (my youngest just turned 20 last week) that you got it JUST RIGHT. :D Proverbs 22:6 was also a stronghold in our minds as we reared our three sons, along with the whole rest of the Bible (of course) but bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the LORD reaps benefits we may never realize fully, but it seems like the blessings of it envelop us every minute of every day. I don’t know how people without the Lord manage it truth be told.

  26. 42

    I love this book, too. I bought it for my oldest son when he was 7 years old, and I cried every time I tried to read it to him.
    It sounds like you have done a marvelous job of parenting your daughter with love, wisdom, and discipline. It will be hard to let go of that role–I know. I still struggle with letting go of that role with our youngest son who just moved out.
    When he went away to college, he became very homesick even though he is quite outgoing and social. So, don’t be surprised if that happens. He came home after just one semester and went to our local community college until he was ready to attend the University in town.
    Each student’s journey in college is different but I think the one thing that is similar is their need to be independent and begin to make their own decisions. The three of us decided that talking to each other on two set nights a week would be good. While it was good for me to have a schedule, it might have been better for our son to decide more spontaneously which nights he would like to talk depending on his schedule and his need.
    The letting go is hard. There is no way around it. But you have the right attitude in mind. You have raised her (and raised her well from what I can tell) to be someone else’s and to belong to the Lord.
    Saying a prayer for you now.
    Janis

  27. 43

    What a sweet daughter! I’m always glad to read these posts. I didn’t have that kind of mother. She had her own problems and I was an outcast in the family. She didn’t have room for me with her problems to be a mother or a friend. And I could have used both as an adult.

  28. 44

    Robin, my preschooler says that to me all the time – You’re NOT my best friend anymore! – and my standard response is much the same. “I don’t want to be your friend, I’m your mum – and I love you even when you’re mad at me!”

  29. 45

    Reading through the comments, I agree with all the young women who are in college or recently graduated. I just graduated in April and the advice I wish I had taken more is to worry less and just enjoy the moment. I’m a worrier by nature but four years flew by and I wish I had worried less about things that didn’t really matter. Coming from graduating at the top of my class in high school, I had to remember that college was a different field and that all I had to do was my best and not be so obsessed with getting the As. Also, College, like high school and most things in life, is what you make of it. I made lifelong friends by going out of my comfort zone (having never attended a youth group) and joining in on activities at my church’s student center. Sticking close to my faith has kept me afloat during rough times that are so frequent in college because of the world and it’s pressures. Finding a faith community absolutely made my entire college experience and I don’t know where I would be today without that. Blessings to you and your daughter!

  30. 46

    ROBIN. This got me all teary-eyed and sappy! But I also feel encouraged! I went round and round with Annalyn at Disney World last week, forcing her to hold my hand, my WHOLE hand in the crowds. So thinking about holding her loosely in the years to come (not too soon, please!)…well, that’s where the teary-eyed-ness comes in. *sigh* I’m so thankful for mama friends in different stages of life who share wisdom and encouragement!

  31. 47

    My advice to entering freshmen is to take classes that you want to take, that you find interesting and light you up inside, in addition to classes that you need to take or think you should take. Often driven college students are so focused on getting great grades or having the “perfect” transcript that they don’t take classes that they would really enjoy and might wind up being a big part of their lives because they are afraid that it won’t look good, won’t look hard enough, or they won’t do well in the class.

    Also, whatever you think you’re going to do now (whether it’s picking a certain major, being in or not in a sorority, or participating in a certain activity), your mind will probably change a million times. You will grow and change a lot in college. Let that happen. Don’t stick to a certain plan once you discover that it’s not right for you. Let yourself explore different subjects, friends, and activities.

  32. 48
    Anne Marie says:

    I love this…it reminds me of my mother and my relationship. She was my mother first and foremost all the time, but now, as a grown adult and mother myself I am amazed at how we are best friends.

    I don’t know how that transition happened, but I am thankful everyday for our bond. I look forward to your post in a few years when you and your daughter get to have the conversation about being best friends and how it happened.

  33. 49

    The best advice I received: find a good church and get involved! Make friends there as well as at school.

  34. 50

    Oooooh, love that picture, Robin.

    I love my teens. They are the greatest. SO proud of them.

    We focus too much on telling our kids what’s so bad out there. So I’d say “it’s about what you do, do” while away from college, and not about what you “don’t do.”

    Courage, respect, discipline, good choices …

  35. 51

    Love this! I teach 8th grade and often at the year start I hear, “You’re not going to make any friends that way.” I always respond that I’m okay with that because I have enough friends. By the end of the year they get it and tell me what a good teacher and friend they had. Hopefully our kids will get it someday too.

  36. 52

    Hey lovies!!!

    PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR NOT YET REPLYING, we were out of town for the weekend and let’s just say I was fully present with those I was visiting. Thank you for your encouragement and suggestions–I’m off to begin replying and can’t wait to read your thoughts!!

    xo

  37. 53

    Hello, sweet friend. I already know you’re a great mom and you are going to do just fine as your daughter goes to school next year.

    I only have one word of advice to add to all of the wonderful suggestions you’ve already gotten: develop a calloused tongue. What I mean is, you will want to tell her all the time how much you miss her and how your house just isn’t the same without her. Trust me. All. the. time. My heart hurt most of the year last year when my first went off to school. I wanted her to know how much I missed her, and I did tell her . . . sometimes. But sometimes I knew she didn’t want to hear that. She didn’t NEED to hear that–it would only add guilt. She needs to feel free to go, to meet new people, to explore her new world and she doesn’t need to be thinking about your hurting heart. So hold that tongue, develop a thick skin, and be thankful for the moments you can still share together.

    You can be sure that I will be there every step of the way, sending much love and lots of prayers. It will be fine. :)

  38. 54

    Nothing to add, just to note how much I love this…perspective as I too parent with thought, my 6 and 8 year olds. I have that quote “I’ll love you for always….etc” on the wall of my daughter’s room but as I told them both, I’m not your friend, I’m your mom. Love.

  39. 55

    Oh this: “I needed you to be my mother.”

    You write amazing, God-filled words, friend. This mama just beginning the teen journey really needed to hear them.

    My humble thanks, Robin…

    {And the summer I worked at the public library, I listened to Robert Munsch read that story to a whole bunch of squirmy kids :) }

  40. 56
    Amanda K says:

    I want THAT relationship with my children… to be their mother first. This post brought tears to my eyes and helped me pause for a while.