Little Susie just graduated from school. All the paperwork has been filled out. Loans were obtained. Now the big day is approaching! What will they need? When will I see them again? Why is this so hard?
The last question is easy. She is your baby! (no matter how old!) You (or your spouse) carried her for nine months or maybe your child was adopted and you wanted to take care of her the moment you saw her little face. For eighteen years you poured your heart out over this child. There was the homework and the sports and the band camp….. and homework. There was the teenage hormones and the fights with friends. You have been through every step of this child’s growing up years. Now it is time to watch them fly! Oh, but it isn’t easy! Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Helicopter Parents are not cool! Shall I say it again for dramatic effect? Helicopter parents are not cool! Not only is it embarrassing to your child, but it can be a real annoyance to the staff at the college. “But what if-?” No! You need to let go and let them make their own mistakes and learn things as they go. That is how life is learned: by experiences. And if you are afraid that they may start drinking or smoking or whatever, you cannot lay there awake worrying about it. You had eighteen years to teach them.. Now it is time for them to put it into practice. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NKJV) However you may prefer the Message translation, “Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost. Don’t worry. They got a question or need money- they will call! Until then, you have to learn to practice what you will do when your nest is completely empty. Most colleges have Family Days, game days or even concerts. You will see them again! After all, you still got to buy them a birthday present! Exception: if when talking to your child and they confide they are not sleeping or their grades are falling or something just does not seem right. contact the guidance counselor and ask them to check on your child. Don’t go into a lot of detail. Just trust them to connect with your child.
You do not have to buy everything on the lists for college you may find on the internet. If they are in a suite they may not even need a microwave. My daughter did, however, use her small fridge. When we were shopping that first year we spent so much money on bedding and towels and toiletries. She must have bought over a dozen throw pillows for her bed. As she is entering her senior year, she is down to maybe two, if that! A good water bottle is great especially if there are areas in the school to fill it up. We had gotten her a used tv at first but that came home when she moved into her suite because there was a television in it. The things they may want to stock up on for a few months is toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, feminine pads, etc., etc. Don’t forget Tylenol and medication for colds and stomach ailments.
If you live within reasonable driving distance, you don’t have to take everything when she first moves there. My daughter’s college has a Family Day in September and Fall Break in October – plenty of time to get those extra blankets and winter wear there! They don’t need a lot of long sleeve stuff when they move in the summer. Just take a few pieces and box the rest for later trips. You can do the same thing in the spring with bringing things back home.
Care packages: Some colleges will actually send forms home for you to buy some for finals or whatever. Yes, it is convenient, however my daughter didn’t like a lot of what the college packed so I opted to make my own care packages for finals. I would send the one back with her at the end of Thanksgiving break and the other after Easter break. Not only could I buy what she liked but I would include silly items like bubbles, play dough, coloring books, Punchy balls, stickers, and the list goes on. I asked her recently if she would rather have one from the college, “No, I don’t like their snacks and besides, yours is more personal.” One of the things she would request is one of my Party Mixes. I would make a huge batch, save some for us and put some back for her. My son would complain about it, of course, but his time is coming!
And communication is only a Facebook Like away. To borrow from the phone commercial, you can pin, post, tweet, snap, tag, check and share!
Enjoy this time! And believe me, I understand!