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Dear parents

Dear parents who are getting ready to send your firstborn off to college this week,

I feel for you.

I recognize you.

I feel for you as you shop for dorm items, attend orientations, pack up bedrooms, and load the car.

I feel for you, and I recognize you as you wonder and say to yourself, “where did time go,” “how did we get to this point so fast.”

Dear parents who are dropping their only child off at college this fall, I really recognize you.

I feel for you as you wonder — did I do enough, did I prepare them enough.

It was just two short years ago I was in your spot.

I was helping my only child choose things for her dorm room to make it feel like home to her, packing up the bedroom and loading the car.

It was just two years ago I spent some nights wondering, did I do enough to prepare her to begin this new journey?

I fought the tears as we packed up and loaded up, but tears came when I stood on the sidewalk in front of Curry Dorm at Longwood University saying goodbye to my teenage daughter.

There I was about to be an empty nester worried, wondering, and praying that I prepared this child for the next four years.

This week, here we are again.

Packing and loading the car for her junior year at Longwood, only this time I am dropping her off at her first apartment off-campus.

I still held back the tears at times, but this year, things were a little easier and different.

I didn’t drop off my teenage daughter at college. I dropped off a kind and compassionate young woman who I know is prepared for the journey ahead.

So, dear parents sending your firstborn or only child off to college, let the emotions come, let the tears flow and know that it gets easier on them and you, every day, every month and every year.

CRYSTAL VANDEGRIFT is a staff reporter for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Crystal.Vandegrift@FarmvilleHerald.com.