Son’s First Christmas Home From College

It’s been four months since we dropped our son at college, and I get to see him in two days! It’s my son’s first Christmas home from college. I read a poignant article by Mia Freedman, who wrote :

“Being the mother of a son is like someone breaking up with you really slowly.”

Our job, as a mom, is to raise boys into men, and give them tools to successfully grow up and leave to start their own families. Eighteen years goes by in a flash.  One minute we are nursing them from the breast, then teaching them how to hold a fork, and then chop sticks, then poof… they have their own credit card and barely eat with us. They slowly but surely grow up and grow away from us. They have a new independence along with less reliance and guidance from me, and a slight impatience for family rules. Our job is to let go.  Not all at once, but gradually and gently and with grace.

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A few thoughts on my son’s first Christmas home from college

  • The last time you had a haircut was early August as we left California shiny and clean to move into the dorms. I suppose haircuts don’t quite make the budget as a college student since you’re now a shaggy haired man. Who knew you had curly hair!?!
  • I’m not sure where the man-beard came from, but clearly freshman don’t shave. Is this a phase, or do I need to adjust to this new you?
  • Contrary to popular belief, college is not an all-inclusive resort in Cabo where you are obligated to drink as much cheap booze as possible to get your money’s worth.
  • Your life no longer revolves around me. It’d be weird if that were not the case, but ouch…. this is a primal pain. I really enjoyed you coming to me for every single thing.  Well, most things…not the three car accidents obvi.
  • How and why do you sleep so much? That’s impressive… and not in the good way.
  • No you shouldn’t bring your dirty sheets cross country for me to wash them. Nor should you bring a bag full of dirty clothes for that matter either. Gross. Use one of the 2000 laundry pods I bought you when you moved in four months ago!
  • I follow along with your college soccer team social media, and it makes my whole WEEK when I catch a glimpse of you smiling and having a great time with your buddies.

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  • How could you possibly not have realized you had a final on Wednesday? You see there’s this thing called a syllabus, that outlines EVERYTHING expected of you to succeed in a course. This isn’t shown on Snapchat, Instagram or Call of Duty either, so perhaps stop spending so many hours these places trying to seek this out.  You need to actually poke around your college portal to figure this shit out.
  • It’s hard to describe the pride of watching you grow into a man and figure (or not) things out for yourself.
  • Yep you still have a curfew. I understand you are an adult and you can ‘do what you want now’, but there’s no way I’m lying awake waiting for you to come home at whatever hour you choose.
  • Wow.  Your vocabulary has upgraded significantly from the grunts you left with.  It’s lovely to have actual conversations with you about things that matter. Can we have more?
  • You are going to wear matching Christmas PJ’s with your brother and bake a gingerbread house, wearing your Santa hat, like we did the past 17 years. Non-negotiable.

This phase is new to me.  I don’t know how to navigate this and I think it’s even harder than the college drop-off. How do I express my love as I watch you truly growing up preparing to leave my safe nest? I’m comforted by knowing I did it right. This is how it’s supposed to work. I need to figure out how to channel my longing for one more day to walk to the beach, buy you ice-cream and watch it dribble all over your face and hands, then throw you in the bathtub so we can snuggle in your little PJ’s with feet. And read Skateboard Mom for the 1000th time. Cat? Dog? Foster Kids? Who knows.

To be someones entire world is a gift. I know you love me more than life itself, but I also know we need to settle into our new rhythm. At the end of this process, I know I’ll find a kind, charming, smart adult, who brings me great joy and pride.

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About The Author


I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.


  1. Amy | 5th Jan 20

    I’m a mom of four sons and boy did this blog make sense to me. Although my daughter is in college and still needs me, my sons spread their wings and flew. It’s difficult to watch them grow, yet amazing at the same time. Thanks for your blog.

    • Samantha | 5th Jan 20

      Four boys! Wow! Agreed, it’s difficult yet so amazing at the same time and I love that my son understands my need to be close, hug him and take care of him and makes me feel special. It’s a new chapter for sure. Happy new year!

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