The things nobody tells you about sending your kid off to college
Yes, there’s the obvious things like getting the mattress cover and all other dorm room essentials. And, of course, sending your daughter appropriately dressed for the dorm in her JJwinks loungewear/sleepwear. But, there’s a few things we would like to tell you that may not be on your researched list of “How to send your kid off to college”.
Get on Snapchat. Don’t say, “oh I don’t know how to do that”. My 86 year old dad knows how to Snapchat, trust me you can do it. The reason is, it’s a more unique way for you to communicate with your kid than texting. When my oldest left for school, he told all of us to start snapping or we were going to miss out. He was so right. He went to a college across the country so we were eager to do anything to stay in his world that we could. He set us up with a family “group” on Snapchat comprised of him, me, my husband and his brother. Several times a day we send snaps to each other about what would be the most mundane things to everyone else, but to the four of us are so meaningful. Simple things like a daily snap of the family dog can bring so much joy to a homesick college student. And, your student’s snap of walking to class in the snow can give you insight into what his experience is like. Snapchat doesn’t have to be so public like posting on Instagram or Facebook. It can be a private way to send quick video clips and photos to one or a few people in your life and can be a fun and intimate way for you to stay engaged with each other as a family.
Write a letter. First off, it will help you get some of the emotions out ahead of time. Second, it’s a profound way to begin this journey that your child is now on. It’s the one that he begins without you and it’s your final chance to sum up those bits of wisdom you’ve always wanted to impart. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to really tell them how wonderful they are, how proud you are and, while they will never truly understand until they have kids of their own one day, how much you love them. It will be one of the few times your message won’t be deleted, rather it will be savored and absorbed. I have found both of my sons’ college letters from my husband and I tucked away in a special place in both of their desks and it makes me smile each time.
Remind yourself that this is supposed to happen. This time of sending them off on their own is what you have devoted your life to for 18 years. So, afterwards, don’t cry too long over the fact that they left. Celebrate the fact that you did your job. So well that they are actually able to go off and live on their own now. It’s what you have trained them for and they are achieving the dream you had for them all along.
The unexpected thing is that, all of a sudden, you will find yourself loving that they are gone. It may take a month, but it will happen. No late nights waiting up for them and no cleaning up their messes. Even though you may have more children at home, having one less does make the house a little less hectic. And, when this feeling of, “OMG it’s kind of nice having my kid at college” comes, don’t feel guilty about it. Own it and remember, it was supposed to happen this way.