To my friend Celeste, with a college bound child:
Today, I have the luxury of writing some eight years after our third and last daughter graduated from college, so my perspective reflects that angle (of recovery!) for sure. I’m telling you this so that you’ll know that there is indeed a light at the end of that long, expensive tunnel! We’ve jammed our Caravan beyond full visiting a total of four colleges and/or universities over eight years. Each institution presented its own unique set of challenges when it came to off-loading, but since your daughter is also headed to a large urban setting, here’s what I remember most vividly.
After months of planning, strategizing and juggling finances (which my wife managed, actually), the big day had finally arrived. Our first-born daughter, Jen, was off to college! Forget the ivy covered buildings and stately campus green, however, our college freshman was headed to New York City, downtown Manhattan, smack in the middle of 7th Avenue to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, or F.I.T. as it is known by those who have dropped thousands of dollars there.
But above all else, beyond a sense of feeling proud of our daughter’s talents and hard work that got her there, what I remember clearly was the moment my wife and I said our good-byes and prepared to leave. After eighteen years of parental oversight and keeping her safe, we were about to leave her standing in the middle of the largest city in America. It felt a little like child abuse as we drove away. I remember it as if it were yesterday, watching her get smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror until she was just a speck on the sidewalk among the high rise buildings.
Truth is, she did just fine…better than me for a few days that’s for sure! But then, they all come home, usually much sooner then planned…dragging a humungous sack of dirty clothes. Their wallets and bellies are empty and that’s when you realize that the “cord” was far from ever being cut. And just think, for you it’s only part way through the first semester! For sure, more fun’s a ‘coming! My advice is to pour some kind of libation over ice and then take a nap. Before you know it will be time for caps and gowns.