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The Momhood Final Exam

The Momhood Final Exam

This is our 18th summer. College move-in day is only weeks away. We will unpack totes, loft a bed, plug in a mini fridge, and convert an 11 x 16 space into our daughter’s new home-away- from-home. Once we are certain she has her room key, her phone charger, and a brave smile, we will leave her. Alone in a dorm room. Surrounded by strangers. Is she ready for this?

Am I ready for this?

Suddenly the just in “Just 18 Summers” flashes in neon, casting light and shadow on the days behind us. The early years are precious memories, the tween years are their own brand of unforgettable, and the teen years are almost gone. This can’t be the end yet. I know all the answers now. I know which mistakes not to make. Can I call a do-over?

“It goes so fast.” I heard that worn out cliché a gazillion times before my daughter’s first birthday, and I promised I would never repeat it. But it goes so fast!

Now the ultimate test is here, the momhood final exam. Have I prepared my daughter to survive—no, to thrive—in a world that can be exhilarating and magnificent, merciless and unkind? Will she let her little light shine?

Proverbs 22:6 says she will: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (NKJV).

That’s reassuring, mostly. But see that comma? On one side of it is child. On the other side is old. What about these years between? That comma makes me want to say, “Hey, God, did you forget something?”

Will my daughter remember how I trained her? Will she love like Jesus? Will the mantras I delivered like a broken record still echo?

Be the kind of friend you want to have.

Do something to make someone’s day better.

There are enough mean people in the world; don’t be one of them.

Remember whose you are and who He created you to be.

Jesus loves you and so do I, no matter what.

It isn’t easy, arriving at the end of this road, letting go of my daughter’s hand and nudging her forward. But along with apprehension comes a sense of fulfillment. God gave me this gift to raise for Him, with a heart that knows Him, to return to Him.

Maybe this explains the comma. That blank space between child and old is where God steps in and says, “It’s okay, Mom. I’ve got her from here.”

I imagine Him standing ahead of my daughter, His finger tracing a path for her to follow, leading her to the life and purpose He has designed her for.

So in a few weeks I’ll put on my own brave smile and hug my daughter a little too tight for a little too long. And I will leave her in a new dorm room, in a new life surrounded by strangers.

But I won’t be leaving her alone.

By: Karen Sargent is the author of Waiting for Butterflies and blogs at The MOM Journey…where moms aren’t perfect and that’s perfectly okay. Visit her at, on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.


  1. It’s a bittersweet feeling when we pack our child away to school hoping he or she will make good decisions. Lovely post!

    • Pat, thank you for visiting Just 18 Summers! Bittersweet is the perfect word to describe this phase my family is entering.

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