It’s graduation season again. And with it, there’s a mom whose 18 summers with her child are up.

Eighteen sounded like plenty. Too many, even, that summer the kids fought straight from June to August. Too many when you were shuffling them from swim lessons, to piano lessons, to day camp, and back. Too many when you couldn’t keep the fridge stocked thanks to a steady stream of teens coming in and out of your home for the summer.

But here you are. And now those summers are over.

He doesn’t need you to tie his shoe anymore. She doesn’t need her hair braided into two tight pigtails. He doesn’t need his blankie. She doesn’t need a bedtime story.

But, Mom, he still needs you; she still needs you. Your momming isn’t over yet.

Graduation may signify the end of an age, but it celebrates the beginning of a new adventure. If it’s your child that walked across the stage to accept their diploma, rejoice with him. Congratulate her. Mom, you’re probably the reason they made it this far.

Your 18 summers are up. But you’re certainly what your child needs to launch into this next season. Sure, it’ll be different now, but please don’t let go yet.

Here are ways to continue nurturing and growing your relationship with your child in this new season:

Keep talking

Be sure to tell your child you still want to be in the know about his life. Make it a point to call him at least once a week. Text him every couple of days to see how he’s doing. Try to stay away from the instructive tone, “Did you do your homework?” Go more for, “Tell me about the new friends you met in Comp 1.”

Keep visiting

Look at the next school year’s calendar with your child. Plan at least one weekend each semester when you will visit her. Don’t always be waiting for her to show up at your door with a load of laundry or needing a home-cooked meal. It’ll be fun for you and speak love to her if you make the effort to get to know her in her new setting.

Keep expecting

When he lived in your house, you had rules he had to live by. He may not live with you anymore, but keep expecting him to abide by standards he’s committed himself to. Encourage him to adhere to grade and scholarship standards the school has impressed on him. Remind him that his years away at school are for maturing and growing up, not for wasting until real adult life arrives. Help him remember that personal boundaries and high standards will get him where he wants to go.

Download a free 30-day guide to praying for your children.

Keep praying

You can’t watch over your child’s every move anymore. But you can release her to the God who made her and who will be with her wherever she goes. There’s nothing more loving a mother can do than to pray for her child. If you haven’t regularly prayed for your child throughout the years, it’s not too late to start even though your 18 summers are up.

Congratulations to you and to your new graduate. It’s a huge milestone to raise a child to adulthood. And you don’t have to worry, because even adult kids still need their moms sometimes!

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