Mother Felt Lucky As Her Daughter Had No Plans Of Moving Out After Graduation.

Story by Elizabeth Spencer

I couldn’t be happier that my college student doesn’t plan to move out of our house right away after graduation.

Currently an early childhood/early elementary education major in her last undergrad semester, she’ll be doing her student teaching next fall. Her school offers flexibility on where she does it, so over the last couple years, she’s tossed around the idea of doing something outside her normal box. Working far from home, maybe, or moving in with some fellow single, career-girl friends. She won’t get paid as a student teacher but figured she could use her savings just for that semester, to make the most of the opportunity.

I had my opinions on the subject but kept them (mostly) to myself.

A few weeks ago, she told her dad and me she’d reached an important decision: to live at home during that season. Not to try to do two or three or more big things at once but to try to do one big thing at once, fully and well.

I received this news matter-of-factly but inside was doing that parental fist pump you do when your adult child has reached a decision you were rooting for (silently).

Once my daughter told me her news, though, it was time to open my mouth and reassure her it was good news. That she was not “settling.” That she was not “missing an opportunity.” That she was not being immature. That she was not taking the easy way out.

I told her, “If there’s something in your life in a certain season that you can ONLY do during that season, do that the most. Do that the best.”

In a world that preaches “more, more, more,” our young-adult kids sometimes need permission to do less, less, less. Not lesser. Less.

They need reassurance that to be successful at adulting, they don’t have to graduate AND find a job AND buy a car AND set up their own apartment AND get involved in a serious relationship AND make new grown-up friends AND volunteer in their community AND resume a hobby they put on hold AND learn some new skill AND travel—all at once, just because it’s all there to do.

We have to know our kids, of course. Some might need some more prodding. Some might need encouragement to step outside their comfort zones. Some might need tough love.

But others—my twenty-something included—need to be pulled back from thinking every good thing there is to do at a certain time of their lives has to be done or should be done right then. And they also need to know not every piece of their past has to be checked at the door of their future.

Someday, my daughter will pack up all her stuff that’s crammed into our attic and occupying every spare corner and take it somewhere and set up a home of her own. She’ll get a job and make new friends and pull her clarinet out of its case and find a community band to join. But first and foremost, she’ll do one central thing and do it well. And if she does it here, in this house that will always be her home of origin—her home of the heart—I’ll be only too happy about it. 

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