Today a few of my mom friends asked me how taking my second adult child to college went. One mom astutely acknowledged (from her own experience), that taking your kids at college is hard, but taking your boy, is the worst.

Obviously, I don’t love Casey more than my daughters (though they dispute that), but we’re incredibly close. He also has a big personality so when he’s not home, we really notice. To add to the void of Casey’s humor, smile and affectionate personality, he’s also always brought friends over in droves. I won’t just miss Casey, I’ll miss all his friends’ noise, laughs, and…shoes, too.

Fortunately, since I had mourned Casey leaving since he was probably three, I was able enjoy time with Casey when he was home this summer and I did pretty good not thinking about college.

Until last week.

About ten days before Casey was leaving, it hit me – a deep, indescribable pain. I thought about how awful it was going to be to walk by Casey’s empty room, decorate the Christmas tree without him and lock the door knowing he wasn’t home. I thought about how quiet our house would be, I worried about Faithe missing him and I realized what I’d known for a long time but hadn’t had to face until now,

Nothing would be the same after this.

I felt silly about my dramatic melancholy. I have friends whose sons are hundreds of miles away, who are happy their sons are leaving, or some who’ve even lost sons. But somehow knowing it could be worse, didn’t seem to make the pain lessen. I tried ignoring my feelings, taking long bike rides and asking a few friends to pray in an effort to make the hurt subside.

But it didn’t.

Finally, I prayed. Of course I had prayed before that, but I hadn’t prayed intentionally, for any extended amount of time, and I hadn’t prayed desperately. Two days before taking Casey to his dorm however, I prayed honestly and tearfully for help. I didn’t want my broken mama heart taking away from Casey’s big day. I didn’t want him to feel bad for or worry about me (and he would because he’s that sweet and we’re that close).

After really praying, I was reminded of older moms telling me I’d be okay. One friend told me her relationship with her son, though different after college, was almost better now in some ways. God allowed me to start thinking about empty nesting as opportunity instead of dread. He helped me see and be thankful for how ready Casey was for college. After really praying, God gave me supernatural, unshakeable peace and I dropped Casey off without a tear.

As we hugged good-bye, Casey said he was surprised how well I was doing. He said he thought I’d be a mess. I chuckled and told him I’d gotten all that out of the way earlier in the week. On my way home from dropping Casey off, I did finally cry. As I looked at the sunset, I teared up thinking about the goodness of God and how He allowed me to leave Casey with what he needed, all the while filling my heart with what I needed, too.