Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Parents of College-Bound Kids: It Will Be O.K.

Tomorrow, DD moves out of our house and into the dorm. This is a good thing. Let me repeat: THIS IS A GOOD THING.

The last few days I've read so many blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts from parents who are ready to have a nervous breakdown because their adult child (emphasis on ADULT) is doing what they raised them to do--grow up. I have a headache from all my eye-rolling. Seriously. The obstetrician cut the umbilical cord eighteen years ago. It's your turn now. Get out those scissors and finish the job. IT WILL BE O.K.

I know I will miss DD's presence. I know I will worry about whether or not she's eating right, being safe, doing homework on time, wearing clean underwear, hanging out with good people, and all the other things I've worried about for the last eighteen years. But now these decisions are hers. For all those years, I cooked the meals but didn't force her to eat them. I told her how to be safe online but didn't restrict her internet access. I reminded her that doing homework first, then playing X-Box was a much better plan then vice versa, and let her deal with her teachers when she ignored that advice. If she smelled funny and we were going to be in the car together, I gave her the choice of changing her clothes or riding on the roof of the car. She wasn't the most fastidious kid in the world but she never chose the car roof, not once.

I suppose I should sympathize with parents who are freaking out because their kid will be on their own. If you spent their childhood making sure that they couldn't handle life without the training wheels, then I guess you do have reason to worry, and I'm sorry about that. But just like cats landing on their feet, so will your kid. They might get bumped and bruised along the way, and have to go commando because they haven't done laundry in a month, but they'll figure it out.

Don't get the impression that I think my daughter has this whole thing nailed and will never call home crying or complaining. *I'm not that stupid. But I am so excited for her! I know that after all the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair, she is going to find out she can handle way more on her own than she ever thought she could. She's going to learn and explore and grow and turn into the most magnificent woman I can image. She's going to change the world--this I am certain of. She changed mine and her dad's eighteen years ago, and nothing has ever been the same.

So I just got a little verklempt myself, but when I think about DD's closet now having room for her stuff that's presently in the guest room closet... stay tuned!

*My son turned out pretty damn wonderful in spite of me, so I'll let my track record speak for itself.


  1. Thanks for posting this. I am definitely feeling anxious about the near future when the kids fly the coop, but I'm with you--this is what we're training them for. And we'd rather them leave than live at home as adults for extended periods of time (not that we have any intent to allow that to happen.)

  2. Amen.

    I hope she gets off to a great start at school -- good luck to her! (And don't go hog wild with all the newly available college space, kay?)

  3. All I can say is -- I hope she has a great college experience! Good luck to her.

    DS is just now telling us things he did back in college (nothing TERRIBLE, but I WOULD have worried at the time) the time they fogged their whole dorm room with a fog machine they had bought for a concert. They didn't read the instructions and put in too much "fog juice". They couldn't open the door (it would set off smoke detectors) so, they climbed out the window. LOL Glad I DIDN'T know it back then, but it's darn funny now.

    By the way ... he turned out okay too and now hold a respectable job, has an MBA AND lives on his own. LOL

  4. Not freaking out, but just a little melancholy...and proud! It's time.

  5. I love this, and really it is good for me to read this. I should come back and review periodically as an aid in raising Davey. Things that I should definitely think about.

  6. Hear, hear!!! Our daughter left Alberta and went ALL THE WAY across the country to Nova Scotia for university. The number of negative comments we got from friends was .....interesting to say the least. Would we have liked her to be closer? Definitely! But it was a real maturing process for her - and she handled several very challenging problems on her own (losing her wallet, her technology letting her down and her room-mate leaving at Christmas and the local party girl wanting to move in)and survived. When we picked her up at the end of the school year, her first words were "I can't wait for September".
    It's natural to worry - but if you have given your child some survival skills, they should be able to manage. Hanging on to your span of control for too long may create problems of another sort (like your child living in your basement at 30!)

  7. I love this! I love your straightforward honest shoot-from-the-hip way. I've got two kids out now and 3 left at home, at times driving me crazy, but mostly I'm glad they're here. My oldest is getting married next month. I'm happy, thrilled, that they pay their own bills, forage for their own food, and wash their own clothes. I LOVE that they come to visit (often) and that at the end they go home. They are happy functioning adults and I am glad not to pick up their stuff or wonder why the car is out of gas. :) I adore them, but I'm glad for this next stage. Preach it, girl! Let's totally enjoy this next stage of life. Own the Day!

  8. I think you've got absolutely the right idea there, and I think she'll do great on her own =) You've obviously taught her the right things, and if i managed then I'm sure she will =P


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