The College Countdown Begins

August 21st, 2015 : No Comments »

2015-08-17 16.37.07Dear Crystal,

As the mother of four cherubs, including two young adults, I know you are already familiar with the process of seeing the fruit of your womb going off to college, so I am hoping you can advise me if the turmoil I am right now, both internal and external, is to be expected.

To whit, is it normal to feel both bereft at the thought that the baby you once carried on the crook of your hip everywhere will never live at home in quite the same way she once did again, and simultaneously irritated that she is trying to engage you in a deep philosophical discussion while you are trying to eat breakfast in peace?

Is it OK to fall over oneself to do as much as possible for said offspring, by way of shopping, laundry and list-making, then find yourself being driven crazy by their inability to choose between laundry hampers at the Container Store, which is generally your happy place?

And is it to be expected that in spite of the fact they have more or less managed the entire college application process themselves, and held down two part-time jobs successfully most of the summer, all it takes is two weeks of witnessing them hang around in ratty old t-shirts and pajama bottoms all day, watching Netflix, for you to start panicking that they will never figure out what they want to do in life, let alone find someone to share it with?

Of course, it doesn’t help that I seem to have chosen this particularly inconvenient moment in time to embark upon a comprehensive attic to basement de-nesting exercise, when it could easily wait another year, when my second and last chick will fly the coop. I blame Marie Kondo and her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for selling me on the illusion that I can sort out all my emotions and all my life-problems just by sorting out my shelves. Right now, I appear to be stuck with more of both, and I fear the solution may end up involving putting myself out on the curb with all the other old baggage.

Please tell me there is hope.




Speaking of wombs, I often wonder why my college-aged darlings seem to want to return to it more than the ones who emerged from it much more recently. I suspect, as in all matters of the heart, Phoebe, distance–lots of it– makes the heart grow fonder. Once tucked into dorm rooms, one’s children seem to both relish the pleasure of independence, naturally, and long for the parental servitude of home. The impressive number of heartwarming texts from my offspring while not in my presence is encouraging. However, after a summer spent with so much quantity time with all of my children, I know their looks of disdain for me are surpassed only by my snotty flip of the wrist when discarding yet another carelessly discarded empty juicebox or water bottle in their presence. Can’t wait for my eldest ones to be back in their vastly overpriced maturation pods so that I can long for them (and they for me) again.

In sum, Phoebe, it should not be forgotten that this is as much your journey as theirs. A near constant reminder of that, while their nerves are frayed with anticipation for their new life, is likely to create just the right friction necessary for the the last goodbye on campus to be one they cherish forever.



Leave a Reply