Release My Grip. A Mother's Prayer for College Drop-off
Lord have mercy—it’s the night before we take our son to college.
This is his last night in the bed that he’s slept in for the past 18 years.
Release me from lurking around his bedroom, but I just need to tuck him in one last time. (And release me from my urge to crawl into bed with him because that would be super-weird.)
The car is packed, and the gas tank is full. Everything seems to be ready for a smooth departure tomorrow.
Release me from frantically running around the house in the morning like a crazed lunatic, looking for something I will be certain I’ve lost—because it’ll probably just be my mind. (Right now "leaving" and "losing" feels like the same thing.)
Our parking permit is in hand and the residence hall move-in time is confirmed.
Release me from feeling overwhelmed by the crowds and chaos of a thousand parents and students lugging around box fans and crates of bedding. (And please release the elevator from it’s ridiculous crawl, because I’m NOT walking up eight flights of stairs with a mini-fridge.)
We’ll get him all moved in and unpacked.
Release me from being an over-controlling, over-bearing “nester” who obsesses about storage space and knick-knack placement. (But Lord let me make his bed, I NEED TO MAKE THAT BED!)
We’ll probably wander the campus a bit, maybe grab a bite to eat and stop by the bookstore.
Release me from the urge in a moment of weakness from buying every coffee mug, bumper sticker, and clothing garments that say “MSU Mom.”
And then it will be time for me to leave. Without him, because he is staying there.
Oh Lord, release me from the overwhelming grief I’m feeling right now, and replace it with hope and excitement for his new life.
Help me put one foot in front of the other and release my tears AFTER I make it to the car so I can ugly-cry on my steering wheel instead of making a scene in public.
Release me from being heartbroken if I don’t hear from him as often as I'd like. (And help me figure out Snapchat so I can stalk him on social media.)
Release me from worrying about things beyond my control—like falling off his loft bed, fraternity hazing, contracting meningitis, his refusal to use an umbrella, natural disasters, cult abduction and poor choices—and remind me that despite the inevitable challenges he’ll face that you’re directing his path.
Release me from feeling like motherhood is over and help me to find meaningful ways to stay connected and deepen my relationship with my son in this new season.
Release my grip when I hug him one last time and I don’t want to let go, and remind me I’ve raised a young man who’s ready to spread his wings.
Oh…and one more thing, Lord:
Hold me tightly in your peace and comfort tomorrow, as I release him to you.
...even though he’s always been yours.
Lord, in your mercy, hear my prayer.
Written by Kami Gilmour, mom of 5 teen and young adult kids. (releasing her grip on her son at college drop-off day in the photo.) She's the author of a best-selling devotional book for parents of college students that offers helpful encouragement and faith-filled perspectives for surviving and thriving in this season: Release My Grip: Hope for a Parent's Heart as Kids Leave the Nest and Learn to Fly.