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Freshman goodbye: Letting the arrow fly

The Andrews family (from left): Carson, Leah (Carrington ’90), Alaina (’20), Mason (’18), Kaden and Kirby (’90).
The Andrews family (from left): Carson, Leah (Carrington ’90), Alaina (’20), Mason (’18), Kaden and Kirby (’90).
Whether you’re sending your first child off to college – or your sixth, drop-off day is a bittersweet experience. We’ve gathered a collection of thoughts of Wildcat parents whose students will join the ACU family next week. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too!
By Leah Andrews

“Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves the bow that is stable.”
– from “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran

Leaving your children at college is a day of significance that is a complete and total mixed bag of emotions. As I prepare to entrust our daughter and second child to Abilene Christian University, I know the full spectrum of emotions that are about to engulf me like a tidal wave.
This is, after all, what I’ve have been working toward, right?!
I spent countless hours teaching her to read, sitting with her warmly snuggled in my lap. I wanted her to to be a successful student. She is successful! This is great! I am so proud of her! But quietly my heart aches – oh, what I would give for just one more hour reading to her in my lap.
I spent many sleepless nights, encouraging her to sleep in her bed, in her own room so that she could be a strong, confident young woman who could be capable of being away from us. And now she is a confident and strong young woman who is excited to take on ACU and this new challenge, I am so happy! But quietly my heart aches – oh, how I would treasure that girl climbing in bed with her daddy and me one more time in the middle of the night to calm her fears.
I had endless conversations about morality, decision-making and her faith as to how it translates into worldly actions so that on this day, when I send her out into the world, I can be confident knowing that she has the best guide with her as she meets this new challenge. And now she is an amazing young woman, and I am so thankful she is so prepared. But quietly my heart aches – oh, how I pray she will call me any time and any day she may need because I will miss these daily conversations. I learned as much from her as she did from me.
You’ll catch me with tears often these days. Sometimes it is the seemingly innocuous moments that catch me off guard and bring the most tears. A late-night laugh session, the smell of her hair as she bounces through the living room, the music coming from her room, tucking her in for one last hug at night, even the sight of her keys on the key hook in the hallway – I have treasured it all, and I am going to miss it so much. I know in my heart that she is off to do great things. I am excited for all she will experience and all the wonderful people she will meet. I know that she really is prepared to go. I know that she has the best guide in the Holy Spirit who will guide her steps. But my momma’s heart, will miss her.
I find comfort in the poem “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I am so thankful for the opportunity she has at ACU. I truly believe that she is poised and ready and she will go “swift and far.” My heart is completely filled, with love, joy, pride and excitement – all mixed in with some sadness for the time that is coming to a close. So, if you catch me on “move-in” day with tears rolling down my cheeks, let my tears be. It’s just my bending in the archer’s hand.
If youd like to share reflections on dropping off an ACU freshman, or offer advice to parents on how to survive college drop-off day, email
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