Dear Daughter: 7 Ways to Repay Me Before You Leave for College

Hi Sweetie,

So, I know it’s your senior year, and soon you’ll be leaving for college. I just want to let you know that I really don’t want you to go overboard with elaborate plans to show me your gratitude for the last 18 years of my extraordinary mothering. I know it is a busy time, and how to thank me for everything I’ve done for you is, no doubt, foremost on your mind.

7 ways a mom suggests her daughter "repay" her before graduation.

But I when I endured 24 weeks of morning sickness to bring you (all 10 pounds of you) into the world, I was only doing what mothers do. When I rocked you to sleep night after night and then held you until my arms went numb just to keep you asleep, I was just being a mom, like any other mom. Wiping your nose, changing your diaper, letting you spit food in my hand – all just part of the job of mothering a daughter.

[More on How to Crush Motherhood]

When I took care of you during the stomach bug and spent endless hours ridding you of head lice, it was really no big deal. I thought nothing of driving you 30 minutes each way to gymnastics or sitting in the freezing cold to watch you run hurdles. And all the weekly allergy shots and late night study sessions were totally my pleasure.

Sure I understand your desire to repay me for 18 years of love, devotion, and generosity, but that was just me being your mother.  

There’s certainly no need for an elaborate celebration in my honor, a big to-do, or some sort of Mamapalooza. But since I know you won’t be happy until you’ve shown me how much you appreciate me, I want to make this easy for you. In fact, (because as your loving mother helping you is just what I do), I have prepared a list simple of gestures you can do over the next few months to help you achieve your goal of repaying me in some small way.

7 Ways a Daughter Can Repay Her Mother During Senior Year

1. Paint my nails. Manicures are not a luxury I have often indulged in – you know with all the dance lessons and violin lessons and saving for college and whatnot. I could do my own nails, but my vision is just not what it used to be. Hours and hours of reading Make Way for Ducklings and Bedtime for Francisin a dimly lit room can have a negative long-term impact. Of course, what is eyesight compared to a mother’s devotion? Still, I know you are eager to repay that devotion in some small measure, and a little pampering is a great start.

2. Teach me to use the television remote. I know. I know. It’s not rocket science. But in my defense, I have been far too busy lo these many 18 years to watch television, so I haven’t bothered to learn. I should have more free time next year. Besides once you’re gone, I’ll need a distraction from the constant worry and missing you. Binge watching all seven seasons of Parks and Rec ought to do the trick nicely.

3. Let me borrow your car. It’s been nothing but SUVs and minivans for me for the last 20 years. I would love a few afternoons of zipping around in something that doesn’t have enough cargo space to house a small family. You won’t mind driving my vehicle, will you? Oh, and we need groceries. I would get them, but there’s just no room in your cute little car for all those bags.

4. Bake me cookies. Over the past 18 years, I have lovingly and selflessly prepared roughly 19,224 meals for you. I think a plate of warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies once or twice a week would be a delicious symbol your gratitude.

5. Write me a letter. Or a poem or a song or an ode of some sort. I’m not picky. But since I have spent hours and hours proofreading all of your college essays, I imagine it that would make your heart soar to put some of those brilliant writing skills to work in my honor.

6. Print the pictures on my phone. When you’re away at college having the time of your life, a photo album of the gazillion photos I have taken of you over the years will be great comfort to me.

7. Just don’t go! I’m not saying never go. I’ve always known (even if I chose not to think about it) that you would grow up and leave home. I’m just saying don’t go right away. Wait a year. Or five. Maybe ten.

[More on Spending Time with our Teens]

Too much to ask? Okay, okay. How about if you just promise to come home often – at least every major holiday. And when you come home, let’s snuggle up and binge watch Netflix and do our nails and look at old photos and eat the warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies – that you’ll make for us.

After all, the greatest thanks I could receive would be knowing that you are happy at college…but still happy to come home now and then for a little (extraordinary) mothering.

Related:

A Letter to My Daughters About “Locker Room Talk”

High School Senior at Home? Why You Need to Dote on Them

Missing My Babies: 5 Things That Surprise Me Most 

About Laura Hanby Hudgens

Laura Hanby Hudgens is a part-time high school teacher and a freelance writer living with her husband and children in the Arkansas Ozarks. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Grown and Flown, Parent.co and elsewhere. You can learn more about her at Charming Farming, where she occasionally blogs about faith, food, education, and family life.

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates straight to your inbox.