Letting Them Go

We went to our first university open day on Saturday. We visited Bristol UWE and we were both really impressed. My daughter is looking at doing primary teaching and I loved the passion of the staff who spoke about the course, and the facilities were top notch. The accommodation was fab, the campus was great and generally I came away wishing I could go too!

The following day she was to visit Sheffield Hallam University with her Dad. She phoned him to check the arrangements. He was having a wobble. It turned out he had some reservations about her going to a University so far from home, meaning I had to have a sensible and serious conversation with him while stood in the accessories department of IKEA, not ideal timing, but nonetheless….

“What do you think?” he asked, “Don’t you think it is too far for her to go?”

I think it is not our decision, was my reply. If it was up to me I would build a University in my pocket and she can go there, but this decision is not about us. We can be there to be sounding boards, and offer support – but it is really utterly up to her. If she chooses to fly further from the nest then I consider I have done well at the job of bringing up a secure and confident human being, I won’t be disappointed, I will be proud. I am proud of her for having a vocation. I am proud of her for having made the tough decision to switch course after her AS levels. I trust her judgement to make the right decision for herself when it comes to picking which University to go to next year.

It is not our choice. This is probably the toughest bit of parenting yet. The sleepless nights and toddler/teenage tantrums are easy next to letting go. But let go we must, I love this Khalil Gibran quote:



She is ready to be sent forth, and I hope her arrow flies to all sorts of excitement, challenges new and happiness. I will sob like a baby when she is no longer under my roof, but living elsewhere will make her no lesser part of my family or my heart. I am not losing her, she is finding herself, her own path, her own future – and the point of being a parent is to get them to this point and then stand back and see how high they fly.

They went to Sheffield the next day. And he saw what I saw on the Saturday – a young adult on the edge of an exciting leap, and he caught some of the excitement of it – he realised Sheffield is not as far as he thought and saw the opportunities that may lie there if she opts to take them. I think we are on the same page now. It’s the end of a chapter, but not of the whole story, and I look forward to reading on.

Love Miss Cisco XXX



  1. October 9, 2014 / 9:47 am

    You are so brave.
    My eldest is not even at Senior School and the thought of her leaving home for University makes me feel a bit sick. I love the perspective you put on it and totally agree that you have to let her go.

    Sending much love your way x

    • October 9, 2014 / 9:50 am

      Thank you – I probably talk the talk better than I will walk the walk – tissues will be in heavy use next September. But I am so proud of her, and it is easier to imagine now she is this age than it was when she was younger- my two smaller boys are NEVER leaving! 😉

  2. October 9, 2014 / 10:15 am

    It must be so hard thinking she might go from far from home. My little ones are only at primary school and I honestly don’t cope with them being gone for just the day.

    It’s great that she has such drive to be a teacher!
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  3. msedollyp
    October 9, 2014 / 10:17 am

    A beautiful piece as always! My daughter is only just starting Alevels but know I too will have same feelings soon….

  4. October 9, 2014 / 10:41 am

    I really wobbled when our youngest son said he wanted to go to Stirling Uni in Scotland – we are on the South Coast. We went with it, he got an offer, plans were put in place for getting him there and accommodation etc, and then we breathed the hugest sigh of relief when he got better than expected results and changed his course and Uni to Stoke.

    • October 9, 2014 / 10:46 am

      Phew! Can’t hand on heart say I wouldn’t be happier if she went somewhere closer, but equally proud of her for being confident enough to consider Unis further away because their course content is something she is really interested in- will have to wait and see here!

  5. October 9, 2014 / 11:50 am

    My son doesn’t want to go far away to University, and may even travel from home. I guess he doesn’t want to take the leap of staying away and we are fortunate enough to have a brilliant University doing a fabulous course which is perfect for him only 40 mins away. My husband wants him to stay there though, but ultimately it’s up to him. I am secretly pleased but also want him to experience university life and I am not sure he can do all of that living from home. It’s an exciting time!
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  6. October 9, 2014 / 1:52 pm

    beautiful piece – I can imagine how hard it is to let them go, but that’s just what you have to do..
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  7. October 9, 2014 / 2:10 pm

    My son just finished Uni and is back home so I know exactly what you are going through!! It’s a new chapter in their life and they will always need your support even when they become confident adults – they are your children after all!!
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    • October 9, 2014 / 2:13 pm

      Oh yes, I would be lost without my parents still now and I am in my 40s!

  8. October 9, 2014 / 5:52 pm

    You are very strong and brave, I will be a mess! Good job I have 16 1/2 years to prepare myself. LOVE that quote x
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  9. October 9, 2014 / 6:09 pm

    Sending huge hugs to my brain twin!

    You have done an awesome job with that girl x x x

  10. October 9, 2014 / 7:26 pm

    I absolutely love that quote. So very wise! Good luck to your daughter, it’s all so exciting! Wherever she ends up, it’s just a car ride away… xx
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  11. October 9, 2014 / 7:29 pm

    I love this post, I really do. My son is only 14 so we have a few years yet but I hope when we’re there I hope I’ll be able to be strong like you. My dad supports my decisions. He only gets to see me a couple of times a year since I moved away but he didn’t try to stop me. He didn’t judge me when I told him I was marrying a man only 3 years younger than he is because he knew how happy I was. I want to be that kind of parent to my three 🙂
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  12. October 9, 2014 / 8:28 pm

    How so very true
    We have just looked at 6 th form places
    scary step but they are growing up and always will be family
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  13. October 9, 2014 / 9:19 pm

    Goose bumps alert! Lovely post Sonya. You’ve clearly done a fantastic job. I am sooooo not looking forward to this stage but agree entirely with your sentiment that if they choose to go further afield then you’ve done your job 🙂 x
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  14. October 9, 2014 / 10:39 pm

    Oh you are so brave. I didn’t realise it was UWE you were looking round – that’s where I met my husband. I think some of my mates are still working there too. Best of luck with it all. Least we will have each other next September x
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    • October 10, 2014 / 7:28 am

      Awwww bless! we thought it was fab, so far it is topping her list of preferences, but we have some more visits to do and she has to get offered a place!

  15. October 9, 2014 / 10:57 pm

    Oh its an exciting time for her, to have the whole world and your life ahead of you to be able to mould into what you want is just awesome. Changes are always hard but not necessarily bad. In a complete contrast my eldest starts uni next year via his apprenticeship and will be moving closer to me in Southampton – strange but happy times 🙂
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  16. October 10, 2014 / 5:05 am

    I know I gave my parents a good dose of headache because I just wasn’t ready to settle and go to University after finishing HS. And they were desperate for me to do the right thing, get a carreer and be secure. Well, it took some years before I finally did that. And after graduating, I just switched carreers and started studying all over again, lol
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    • October 10, 2014 / 7:27 am

      I was the same, I turned down my uni places and joined a band, I never did go back, and have never quite settled on a career as such- that’s why I am so pleased she has a vocation and even if she changes her mind a few years down the road and takes a different direction it will have given her a good start.

  17. October 10, 2014 / 8:53 am

    What a beautiful post. It’s such a big step, but it’s great that you can share in the excitement and give her all the space she needs to make the decisions which are right for her. X
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  18. October 12, 2014 / 10:15 am

    neither of my current teens have gone to university but Callan is in West Sussex with his dad studying up there and it was so hard letting him go. Kian wants to go to university so I will have this to come at some point. I am sure your daughter will make the choice that is best for her xx
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  19. October 12, 2014 / 10:30 am

    A lovely post hun and yes, we have to allow our offspring to make their own choices as they grow older. One of mine is at uni 250 miles away from home and absolutely adores her new home town. It’s not easy to help out if she has a wobble, but she was confident enough to go so far from home in the first place and I respect her decision to do so.
    If you love them you have to let them go… it’s all part of growing up. Be brave x
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  20. October 12, 2014 / 10:00 pm

    Oh I am so with you about the pocket thing, if only you could keep them somewhere near. My son has a place in Falmouth next year and that is quite a long way and to add to that he is planning a trip to New Zealand before that. I don’t want him to go but there is a big part of me that doesn’t want him to come back (well apart from visiting of course) I want him to go and have a brilliant experience and to do and see the things that I never had the chance to. It doesn’t make it any easier though
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  21. October 15, 2014 / 9:21 am

    What a beautiful post – this is what it should all be about. Giving them the love and security to be able to go out and find their own place in the world with confidence that we’re right there if they need us (but not demanding that they accommodate us needing them) x
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  22. November 3, 2014 / 7:36 am

    We did all this last year. Our son’s favourite uni from the visits was Exeter, the furthest away from our home in Lincolnshire. He got an offer from them plus Sheffield (near to us) and Newcastle (my home town, lots of family there). Where has he gone? Exeter! It was quite a wrench for me but he is happy so all is good.
    That quote made me feel a bit emotional – I know it all makes sense but it’s hard to let go.
    Hope your daughter gets the offers now. It’s going to be quite a year for you all!
    (Ps -glad I spotted this post on the BritMums round-up)
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  23. Becky
    November 13, 2014 / 5:11 pm

    I am crying as I write this, I am in the same situation as you… my oldest daughter is in her senior year of highschool right now and we too are searching out Universities for next year.. It is pretty emotional, but like you, I am letting her make all of the decisions… it is what must happen. I am trying really hard this year to make every minute as special as possible. There is a great book that I picked up the other day titled, “Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day” by Susan Newman, Ph.D http://www.susannewmanphd.com/. The book points out that just five minutes of one-on-one time with your child will ensure meaningful and long-lasting memories and is full of memory-building ideas to do that fit parents and kids hectic schedules. I just want her to look back fondly on her teenage memories so that we will have a life-long bond! Wish I would have had this book earlier on, but I do plan to not only implement it with her, but with my two younger children as well!

    • Charlene
      November 17, 2014 / 8:32 pm

      I totally know what you mean, Becky. My son just entered Western Washington U, and that was a trying time for our family. I agree that we need to grab every special moment that we can :-). Thank you for sharing Susan’s book as well – looks very helpful!

  24. Becky
    November 24, 2014 / 8:42 pm

    You’re welcome Charlene! I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas too!

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