The hubby and I just returned from a weekend in New York City with our youngest son, the son who made us empty nesters. He is the youngest of three boys. Having two older boys who have graduated, I’ve had a lot of experience visiting kids in college. I guess I never learned the lessons I should.

The list below is my experience raising three boys, no girls. Our children are very social and like to have fun. All three boys are all good students and do very well maintaining a good GPA, so there is not much need for arguing about grades. Their social lives are not what Mama wants all the time, they are not perfect, but they are exceptional young men. I had to realize if they don’t learn the lessons of life on their own, they would never be able to survive.

The following list is made up of the lessons I should have learned before this weekend, but once again I wasn’t completely prepared.

  1. Stack your bank account; they drain the funds quickly when you show up.
  2. Expect to eat at nice restaurants NOT the 99cent pizza at the corner pizza joint.
  3. Do NOT expect their clothes to be clean, or anything else.
  4. Never, EVER use the bathroom in their dorm room, you WILL be disappointed and disgusted.
  5. Always bring disposable cups to drink out of, NOTHING will be clean as stated in #3.
  6. Do NOT open the fridge; food has no expiration dates.
  7. Do NOT leave extra time in the schedule for them to ask you to do their laundry or clean.
  8. They will be different hopefully more mature but don’t expect it!
  9. Do NOT expect early morning visits; they barely get up for 8 am classes.
  10. Make them kiss you in front of their friends! It keeps them humble and your heart full.

When your children leave for college, they change. They will always be your babies, but they are NOT children anymore. They are young men and women learning to navigate life in their way. Your relationship will change, yet, your love for each other will not. You are still their mama and will be forever. Let them bloom where they are planted. There is enough nastiness, composting in their rooms to fertilize them for years.

“Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost” (Proverbs 22:6 MSG).