Here it is. My best advice for the first-day-of-school and all other major transitions times. Whether you are sending off your first preschooler, your last high school senior, or the college kid moving miles away, this advice holds.

One – Take a vacation day from work. Take it on the first day of school, and you won’t be rushing out the door with your own agenda while everyone else is a little frantic. You can send them off calmly. Maybe even with a song or a prayer. After they leave, you can give yourself a few hours to wind down from summer and gear up for the new normal. Plus, you will be free when your teen sends a frantic text that she forgot her gym shoes. Already.

Two – Resist the urge to hover. Attending the first school assembly is fine. Walking your child to the classroom in her new building is fine. Following your high-school senior through the halls so you can Instagram his final first day is not fine. It is creepy. Resist and refer back to #1. Consider a spa day.

Three – Enjoy. My mother always told us that the current stage of life is the best. Embrace it. Revel in that pre-K boy who still has chubby cheeks. Don’t mourn ahead of time because you know the years will fly. Celebrate the glimpse of a young woman who waves back at you from the middle school bus. She is going to become one of your best friends someday. And arm your college man with the best advice you can muster, plus money for fuel so he can come back home for a visit any time he wants. Friday, for instance.

Four – Give Thanks. That we live in a nation where education is an option. That your children are healthy enough to grow up and leave you. That God has a life of purpose and joy ahead for you. Even when they’ve gone.