A Poem for Parents — ‘Twas the Night Before Move-In Day

Here’s a little poem I wrote last year when we were moving our “baby” off to school. Can you relate?

‘Twas the Night Before Move-In Day

’Twas the night before Move-In Day and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse.

The totes were lined up by the back door with care,
in hopes that somehow they’d fit next to the spare.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
but not me—I sat there awake, my heart filled with dread.

Eyes filled with tears and a Kleenex in my grasp,
I thought about her birth, her life and her path.

As a baby, she was all cuddly and sweet,
and her toddler years she was fast on her feet.

In junior high, through puberty, sports and boys,
she grew nearly a foot and brought me such joy.

Her heart became generous and faithful and kind,
she touched little lives, one day at a time.

Now this adult-child of ours, all grown up and ready
to embark on a journey made me feel quite unsteady.

But like any good mom, I knew what must be done
so I took a big breath and said a prayer to the One.

I looked deep within and knew what must be,
that my sweet baby girl must sail and be free.

With a quick swipe of makeup and a hot cup of joe,
I loaded the car—every box—on my own.

When the family awoke to pancakes and bacon,
we started the day as a huge celebration.

This was it! My one chance to set the tone for a day
that was life-changing for everyone in their personal way.

We arrived on campus with a thousand others,
each one experiencing the mixed emotions of this mother.

Boxes of bedding and trinkets trudged up the stairs
to make a warm home out of a room that was bare.

When all was unloaded and the time came to go
I embraced my baby with a lump in my throat.

I mustered my strength and offered a kiss,
telling her this was an opportunity for her not to miss.

We’d given her anchor—security, values and love,
a sense of belonging and support from above.

We now must give sails—the independence to be free
to find her own path as she heads out to sea.

I heard her exclaim as we drove out of sight-
“Thanks for everything, Mom, I will be alright.”


Written by Kelly Radi, professional speaker and award-wining author of Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage.



3 Comments on “A Poem for Parents — ‘Twas the Night Before Move-In Day”

  1. Loved this Kelly!!!! I had never read it before and it is awesome! I know it will bring comfort to many who are about to embark on this journey

    1. Thank you, Linda. I hope it brings comfort and perspective as it is such an emotional time for parents.

  2. Kelly, I love this poem! No doubt you are an insightful writer AND a poet too. 🙂 It needs to be shared with a friend who is counting the days down for her son to leave. She will enjoy it for sure!

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