Three years ago I wrote about the Domestic Enemies of the Mom with Teenagers. As time would have it my kids grew up and my youngest it heading to college in 3 weeks. I’ve discovered that this time of life has a lot in common with the preschool years.
The first day of school: Leaving your child at the first day of preschool college is heartbreaking. You take them to the new room find out where they should hang their coat and where they will take their naps. Then suddenly it is time to leave. How can you leave them? You must hug and maybe cry and turn and walk away. You realize that for that moment until you see them again you will not know what they are doing or if they are happy, sad, miserable or on top of the world.
No one will understand them: As you leave your child at prescho college you want to explain to the teacher roommate who they are, they are quirky, hilarious, spunky, moody, beautiful, confident, scared, brilliant. How can you sum them up in a few quick words to make others understand them when you are gone? You just spent 18 years getting to know their every mood, facial expression, and need. You can look across the room and know that they are raging inside and need to be rescued but now it is time for you to leave them with people who don’t know them and there is no way to explain, no time to express how lucky they are to meet your child.
Will they have remembered their manners: Be nice to others. Share.
Eat breakfast. If you don’t want it repeated, then don’t say it. You are too young for a boyfriend, Enjoy getting to make the best girlfriends of you life. Clean up after yourself. Have fun but remember classwork comes first. Respect your teachers. Make sure your shirts cover your boobs and your skirts are closer to your knees than not. Eat healthy. Exercise. Make friends.
Encourage them that it will be fun. You tell them about all the new things they will learn at school. Try out the finger painting station, create in the craft area, read the books, play outside, tryout for teams, join clubs, go to concerts, drink coffee late at night, watch Dr. Who, stay up all night before finals, discuss ideas, think big.
Be safe: Do amazing things, explore, drive to LLBean at 1am just to see if it is really open, eat a grand slam breakfast at Denny’s, yell until your voice gives out but don’t walk home alone, get lost or be reckless.
Remember I always come back: When you need me I am here. Always, anytime, and forever. And more importantly, and what I forgot when I went to college, remember that mom is home wanting to know what you are doing. How is your day going? Who have you met? What are your classes like? What are you eating? Do you love it or hate it or both. Check in with me because although you didn’t borrow my clothes when you left for college you did take my heart.