Transitions can be tough for families, a sentiment fans were reminded of on Monday when Reese Witherspoon admitted to crying after her daughter left for college. Witherspoon revealed the emotional anecdote to Ellen DeGeneres during an appearance on The Ellen Show, and there's a good chance her emotional story will make you feel all of the feelings.
Witherspoon is in an interesting place parenting-wise because while her eldest daughter, 18-year-old Ava, is off to college, her 6-year-old, Tennessee, is about to start first grade. So, even though she's kind of an empty-nester, she still has Tennessee and her other son, 15-year-old Deacon, to look after at home. Witherspoon had to confront this difficult dynamic last year, when Ava left for college (possibly UC Berkeley, according to InStyle).
"It's weird when your children go away to college. It's hard. I never imagined how it felt for my mom," Witherspoon told DeGeneres on the topic of Ava's departure, according to USA TODAY.
The actress then admitted that she had an emotional moment in Ava's bedroom, sharing: "I might have gone into her empty room, laid down on her bed, and cried." Aww.
Whether you're a parent who recently went through this exact situation, a mom who is preparing to, or are imagining your own mom experiencing this type of pain, Witherspoon's anecdote probably hits close to home. And it just goes to show that no matter your income or stature, saying goodbye to a child is never easy. Stay strong, mama.
After Witherspoon shared her tearjerker of a story, fans took to The Ellen Show's YouTube page to share their own anecdotes about leaving the nest.
"My mom cried the entire five hour drive back home across PA when she dropped me off for college," one person commented. "She drove out there, but COULD NOT drive home! I love her SO much!"
Another fan added: "My dad cried for a solid 24 hours when he dropped me off at Uni."
"My mom cried sitting on my bed," someone else said. "I miss her every day."
So many feelings, so little time, right? Starting a new chapter can be incredibly tough. Shoutout to all of the parents and kids who will go through this rite of passage in the fall.
Going back to Witherspoon and Ava's sweet dynamic, the Big Little Lies star admitted that the two grew up together, which probably explains why their goodbye was especially difficult. Witherspoon gave birth to her daughter at age 23, by the way.
"She’s great, and we did it together," Witherspoon said shortly before Ava's 18th birthday, according to Entertainment Tonight. "I feel like we grew up together, it’s great."
Of course, the feeling of love here is mutual. For Mother's Day, Ava penned the sweetest message for her mom, writing on Instagram: "Your drive to pursue your passions, your curiosity and willingness to learn, your care and compassion for others, and your strength to fight for what and who you care about all make me immensely proud to be your daughter."
This is all too sweet. I'm glad the pair has such a strong bond, and I bet Witherspoon can't wait for Ava to come home for summer break. I have a feeling summer 2020 will go great for them, even if Witherspoon cries when it's time for Ava to leave again.