The Letter This Mom Has Been Writing All Summer

Dear Son,

You know I’ve been writing this letter in my head all summer.

I’ve done dozens of drafts and every one has had the same format. State your case, make three examples and restate your case all over again. Sound familiar?

Letter to college-bound son from mom.
College student in a hammock.

A Letter to My College-Bound Son

So here’s my case: I am incredibly proud to have you for my son. Your dad and I won the lottery when it comes to first borns—smart, driven, good-looking, and kind. Most importantly kind.

As you go off on this great adventure of college, know that I have every faith in you and I am completely confident you are doing the right thing. (If I fail in my noble attempt to NOT cry when we leave, know that those tears were not a sign of any misgivings on my part. This is a classic Mom’s Cry Moment. Let’s hope I didn’t wail.)

I think your Dad and I have done a pretty good job raising you. Oh who am I kidding? I think we were off the charts. Epic parenting on our part.

But the real test is how you handle yourself without us close. Over the years, we’ve done our best to teach you faith, empathy and morality and coping skills. All those will be put to the test during your Miami years….maybe all in the first week.

You are a very good learner, so I’m counting on you having taken all of our lessons to heart. But I do want to offer a few little refreshers based upon Things Mom and Dad Say.

You can do anything you set your mind to. My mom told me this and I have told you. It’s the honest-to-God truth. With hard work and ambition, you can do ANYTHING. I am so excited to be watching from the bleachers.

Go to Church. You knew I had to include this one (Church Worker Union Rules), but not for the reason you think. God’s with you no matter if you go to Mass or not…but I want you to go to church to find the familiar. So much of your Oxford life is going to be different. Go to Mass to find a little something you are used to. Plus if you are going to fall for some girl from Cleveland, she might as well be Catholic.

Seriously? For Heaven’s Sake! C’mon!!!! You hear me say this little sequence mostly in response to vulgar music lyrics. It’s my way of saying I find those ways unacceptable. You need to find your own way to say that. I don’t expect you to be the moral compass for Thomson Hall, but I do expect you not to blithely go along with things you don’t believe in. Feel free to set the bar higher than the lowest common denominator. Way higher. (For the record, you’ve never been a LCD kid. I don’t think you’ll start now…but I figured a little reminder couldn’t hurt.)

You are a young man of great character. Spend the next four-year developing, expanding and honing that character so you are ready to go out and make your mark in the world.

You are much-loved by all who know you. Make us proud and know we are ALWAYS here for you.

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Love, Mom

Photo credit: DaytripperUniversity

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About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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