It’s been one whole week since my son left for college.

You’d have thought I would have posted several tissues-required posts about it all by now.

That’s usually how I roll.

But the words didn’t come this week. They stayed trapped in my head or lurking beneath my fingertips, struggling to come together on the keyboard and form more than two complete sentences.

Or at least a Facebook status.


He asked me to make sure he woke up on time the day he left. His alarm clock was already packed away; iPod set aside in one box or another.

When enough time had passed that morning and he hadn’t been seen, I went to his door and waited outside just a bit. I waited remembering how many times I had lingered outside that very door, listening for a horrible cough or maybe just waiting to tuck a little boy into bed.

We keep the door closed all of the time now. I like to say it’s to keep the still puppy-ish dog from stealing socks and school papers but it’s really because teenage boys are quite messy.

If you have one, you know.

I opened the door quietly, not wanting to startle him awake.

And there he was, in his big boy bed, peacefully sleeping.

Quite the big boy now, complete with two-day beard stubble on his face and size eleven feet hanging over the end of the bed.

I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen him sleeping, actually.

I have always been one to linger by the side of cribs and big kid beds, watching my children sleeping and wondering where their dreams were taking them. It mesmerizes me to watch them like that; so innocent and fragile, so full of hope and promise and dreams.

So for a few moments that morning, I lingered. I stood by his bed and took in the absolute breathtaking wonder that it is to gaze at your very own child. Fragile yet strong; small yet mighty; so young yet somehow so old.

We’ve raised him to this point and now it’s his turn.

And I knew exactly where his dreams were taking him that morning.


  1. Wow. Just wow. I have to go get some tissues now. Thanks for putting this into words.

  2. Oh you and your words- chills and tears. Always. Much love to you and your big boy. XO

  3. Oh Sherri, are you keeping the door closed now?
    Have you looked in this week at all … on the odd occasion my oldest has had a sleepover, her perfectly made bed makes me stop for a moment when I walk past her room … missing her.
    Thinking of you and how well you prepared him for this next part of the journey, for both of you …

    • I actually keep it open now! It’s perfectly clean, no socks on the floor, his favorite posters taken and empty frames left behind.

      In an odd way, I don’t mind seeing it like that. Still parts of him there, but ready for the next time he visits.

  4. I appreciate the sweet comedic relief of the thought of your college aged son in a “big boy bed”.

    I mean, I know it was sentimental, but I giggled a bit and made me not want to be so sad that he has left for college.

  5. I am looking over at my 4.5 yr old son, watching his cartoons and sipping his chocolate milk. My eyes are filling with tears because your post just showed me that he will be a man when I blink.

  6. Sherri I love how you write about these moments that you capture in your heart. Simply beautiful!

  7. I want to tell him to come back. But that’s not how it works, is it?

    So I’ll just hug you. xo

  8. Such a lovely, heart wrenching post.
    This line is perfection: “Fragile yet strong; small yet mighty; so young yet somehow so old.”

    You have an amazing ability to show me glimpses into what the future holds while making me savor the moments that are now.
    Thank you for that.

    Much love, beautiful friend.

  9. Oh Sherri, the way you share these moments, the rhythm of your words, they put me at peace.
    Just like the afternoon we spent together, your writing calms me, makes me slow down and live in the moment.
    THANK YOU for that.

  10. Sherri, if I could write half as well as you do! You make me really see the moment. My boys aren’t near college, but every day they grow a bit bigger and it makes me want to rewind!

  11. In truth I am probably closer in age to your son than to you, shocking as that may be to both of us. And while I sympathize with you, and blink away tears as I imagine Aliza big enough to go away to college, I am still giddy with excitement for him as I know just how amazing his time at Davis will be. I know what’s in those dreams too and it’s even better in reality!

  12. You have left me it tears! What a special moment! I am so glad you had it.

  13. GAH! That was so heart tugging and tear inducing…I have quite few more years to go before I’m at that stage but I don’t think there are enough years in a lifetime to get used to your baby leaving the nest.

  14. “We’ve raised him until this point and now it’s his turn.”

    This is the leap of faith that steals my breath and speeds my pulse.
    I know I have a few more years before I face this inevitable letting go…

    But I also know how quickly those years will join the blur of our past histories together…that before I can say SAT prep course, I’ll be recalling “what was” even as I look toward “what will be” for Jack and Karly in their adulthoods.

    My biggest consolation is the FIRM belief that I will remain close with my children. Wherever their futures send them, I’ll be there. Supporting them, rooting them on…as they take their turns at life.

    So cheers to all the stages of motherhood, to this love that never ends.
    I’m right there with you, mama.

  15. Well, you kept it all for one tear-invoking post 🙂

    I love this Sherri. Your words actually help me find some peace with my kids seeming to speed through each phase; what a gift to have raised him so well that he is confident and equipped to go into the world, secure in your love for him.

    Off to hug the babies. (And oh, to one day have to worry about my kids sleeping in…early wake-ups are one thing I will NOT miss about these young years!)

  16. Oh Sherri, I’ve got goosebumps and teary eyes again. He will do great and I know you know this too because you have given him the perfect path to his dreams.

  17. With a 12 and 6 year old, I dream about the day they go away to college.

  18. So touching Sherri.. This is why the beginning of this school year has been so rough. My little boy is in high school. These 4 years are the beginning of the end. He’s that much closer to adulthood & moving off.
    It’s all happened so fast and I’m not ready.

  19. Oh, boy.

    When I see how normal, and grounded and mentally healthy and mature you are..

    I realize there is no hope for me.

  20. I just said goodbye to my oldest daughter and sent her off on her journey to independence a few weeks ago. It was a tough journey for me, leaving her behind, six hours and a world away from home. The good news is that she’s positively shining and blossoming at college. I miss her terribly, and I can’t wait for the first visit home.

  21. You always have a way to marry perfectly what my future holds as well as how my own mother felt.

    You give me the opportunity to appreciate every small thing about Eddie now.

    You share with me a way to know my own mom better and how she felt about letting her kids go…even if she never said it herself.

    And you fill my heart with love and hugs for you through this new stage of motherhood you are going through.

    Love you, friend.

  22. I am overcome with an appreciation for my own child and with a love for my parents.
    Every single word you write I can relate to.
    This is why I come here.
    This parenting thing, although I am only 17 months in, is hard. It’s also the best job in the entire world. BUT… what a heartbreaking, bittersweet job it can be.
    You put it into words perfectly.

  23. Damn you – I’m all teary eyed.

    The juxtaposition of big boy bed with the beard stubble is mind-blowing.

    Wonderfully done.

    It took me 2 months to come home from school when I first went off. I wanted to call home every day, but never did…until I got a package on my third day there. See, my mom mailed something before she drove me out – on the side of the box was a message “call your mother.”

  24. Happy and sad sighs at the same time. I stare at my sleeping kids all the time when i check on them at night, brush their hair from their face, place my finger in their hand to see if they’ll grip it like they did when they were babies. Beautiful words, Sherry.

  25. That was so beautifully written. I have goosebumps and tears in my eyes. He will do great. You’ve raised him well.

  26. Oh dear, I am sobbing. I can completely visualize this, and yet I still hope to freeze my babies in time.

  27. Just last night I went into my boy’s room and saw the little one sleeping with his hands in prayer. You know, like under his chin, together, just sleeping away. And the big kid had his ‘good’ arm above his head and his busted limb propped on a pillow. I actually crawled into bed with each of them and just smelled them. Listened to their breath. I hope they don’t think it’s weird when I do the same 10 years down the road. A momma’s love. It’s just never ending.

    Love your words, woman. Lots.

  28. I feel that way when I see my kids sleeping. This was beautiful. We sent one to college last month too. Thanks for putting it into words.

  29. Beautiful piece of writing Sherri. Life goes so fast at least you are smart and documenting the moments. I’m sure a lot of parents sending their kids to college feel the same way you do.

  30. I feel that way too, about what it does to the heart to watch our children sleep.


  31. Ummm….this post was a 2-tissue-er. So sweet.

    I can’t imagine my kids (5 and 1) leaving for college. Let’s just hope I don’t follow them to their first class (like I followed the bus to Kindergarten).

  32. Whenever you write about your son, it’s like I’m seeing my own 6 year old in fast forward. You always get me. Wow…what a milestone Sherri. I hope all his dreams come true.
    And? I cannot. imagine. seeing size 11 feet where there was once tiny size toddler feet. I.just.can’t.
    How are you doing since college started?

  33. Best wishes to your “big boy” on his new college adventure! Fifteen years from now, which I know in hindsight will only feel like days, I suppose I’ll be reminiscing the same way…

  34. How beautifully reflective. I bet he’s taking college by storm!

  35. I had to smile at “big boy bed” and frown at the thought of not watching Lucas sleep. It’s something I do every night now. For a few minutes. But there will come a time when I won’t.

    I hope the transition is going well and that everyone is settling into the new “normal” nicely. I bet being back at work helps tremendously.

    Sending hugs your way, Sherri.

  36. Time goes by way too quickly. I think of my nearly 6 year old and want to weep, let alone imagine the college days. Sending you hugs as you transition.