'Tis the season to send children off to college. From the acceptance letter to driving away from campus, every parent of a college student has these eight thoughts:
1. "I'm so proud!"
You watched your precious child walk across that stage to receive their high school diploma, and you didn't think you'd ever be more proud. But now they're preparing for the next big step on their educational journey. You have every right to be a proud parent; you helped them reach this point.
2. "Is she ready?"
How is she old enough to be going to college? WHERE DID THE TIME GO?!
3. "College is SO EXPENSIVE."
Not only is there tuition, books and other school fees, but there's also the cost of moving your child into a dorm or apartment — and furnishing it. Depending on where you shop, it can get pricey. Remember: There are discounted resources for textbooks, roommates can share things like pots and pans, and secondhand stores are your friend.
4. "Does he have everything he needs?"
Bedding, rice cooker, laundry bins, trash cans, a jumbo-sized package of toilet paper, backpack, notebooks ...
College can mean more free time for parents who no longer need to manage their kids' lives. No more dragging them out of bed in the morning. No more driving them to and from practices. No more waiting up for them to get home at night. What are you going to do with all this spare time? Take up a new hobby? Learn a new language? Catch up on the sleep you missed over 18 years as a parent? The options are limitless.
6. "I'll call him every day to check in."
This is another idea, albeit unrecommended, for how to spend your time once your child is out of the house. You're probably used to seeing your kiddo every day, checking up on their comings and goings, hearing about their daily struggles. This is bound to change now that they're not living at home, and it's a change you've got to let happen. Let them spread their wings. They'll call you.
7. "I'm going to miss him so much!"
Even though your child has had episodes of exaggerated attitude or snuck out at night, and even though you yearned for the day when you were free of their antics, you're gonna miss 'em. As soon as you drop them off at their dorm and drive away, you'll realize all the gaps their absence will create in your life.
8. "She's gonna do great."
Nice work, parents. Your kid has not only survived their childhood, navigated the emotional maze that is high school, and earned grades high enough to graduate, but they've been accepted to college. You've done the best you can teaching them about the world up to this point, and they're going to go out and discover even more because of the things you've taught them. Don't worry — they'll be just fine.