5 Truths You Learn When Dropping Your Child Off at College
If there's a moment more emotional that a parent watching their child head into a kindergarten classroom for the first time, it's dropping them off at college. College is meant to be a time of learning for our kids, but make no mistake, it teaches mom and dad quite a bit as well.
1. They weren't kidding when they said "the days are long, but the years are short." I don't know who "they" are, but they were right. When your kids are babies and toddlers, it's an exhausting time - joyful, yes, but exhausting. Remember when you would look forward to their brief naps so you could get anything done? As they grow, we spend so much time getting them where they need to be, doing what needs to be done - time just flies. Dropping them off for that first year at college puts a fine point on that - and in that moment, you'll wish for one more moment of the craziness and chaos.
2. They are so ready, and more prepared than you think they are. I knew my middle daughter was SO ready to go to school, but I was in awe at her competence. I knew she was academically prepared by some of the best teachers CNY has to offer, and she had all her stuff - but she was so prepared. She had a plan to organize her dorm room, her agenda, her social life...she even calculated how much money she could start to save for her first home. You'll be so proud and awed.
3. It is possible to feel so happy and totally heartbroken at the same time. You can't be more proud of your child on the big day - they earned this, they are ready. But, ohmygosh, your heart will hurt as you set your baby free in the world. It's likely from this day forward, they will never again be permanently under your roof, their world springing from the center of yours. Bring tissues. And possibly wine.
4. All those lessons you taught them actually do stick. Eat your vegetables. Don't just go along with something because your friends are doing it. Double-knot your shoelaces. We teach them a million things - small and silly, big and important - maybe not everything stays with them. More than you think will, does. Those lessons are our legacy to them. Pick your battles and be really aware of what you want them to carry with them into the future.
5. This moment is a big change for you, too. I don't know about you, but I've never felt more aware of time speeding by than at that moment. I still have my son at home, and I can't imagine what it will be like when he goes off to college - but the feeling of time passing is profound - more than any other milestone. The better part of our lives center around our children, and then they go out and create their own lives - as they should. It's up to us to create our own futures - and it takes a little effort to not focus just on the loss we feel.
What was your biggest lesson when you dropped your child off at school? Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org