So you’ve done the big Target/Wal-Mart run and loaded the car up to the gills. For those of you who’ll be flying off to college, you are loving the Bed, Bath and Beyond offer to have your pre-ordered goods ready for you at your destination. For those of you who don’t want to wrestle for a dolly at the dorm while waiting for the elevator that’s even slower than the one at the Hampton Inn, you may want to rent/borrow one for the weekend. Some of your friends have even hauled trunks and suitcases up hot stairwells–yikes.
For most geographical locations, especially those located south of the Mason-Dixon, move-in day may involve a sweaty several hour ordeal of trying to locate your pre-printed parking pass, jockeying for a parallel spot, or any spot at all for that matter, (legal or not–get creative), begging not to be towed or designating a family member to ‘watch the stuff’ (especially the flat screen and laptop) thrown on the dorm lawn while you find a parking place at a lot the next town over 🙂
Finally you have managed to upload everything up into the tiny room. (Does a student ever get a ground floor room? Who lives in those rooms?) Now what to do? Men and young men everywhere, a word of advice: let the Mom make up the bed. This is a universal. This is a constant. This will never change, even in the year 2050. Even if the roommate, hallmates and resident director (whose exact job you are still trying to figure out) are all snickering away. These mothers are not, I repeat, not, babying the offspring, they simply need something helpful to do, to stay busy– plus it helps them get over the fact they are letting their child go. You even texted your dear friend, Jane, who had just finished driving a truck to her son’s frat, to check about the bed thing. “He let me make up his bed,” Jane texted back. Yes! Even if his brothers were cackling away, who cares? Sometimes those who poke fun, wish they had let their own Mom make up their bed.
So men, after the heavy downloading, you’ve done your male thing, so you are now free to stand around and be supportive, or to try to plug in some cables and usb’s (which may be challenging for many fifty-somethings) or else leave and go do the grocery store run for fresh milk and oj. If you are going to scoff as your wife leaves a tube of fresh spf by your child’s toothbrush, or a fresh branch of organic bananas on top of the dresser, the absolute best advice is to flee for the errand run. Once you caught a roommate’s Mom with a canister of Lysol wipes mopping down every surface of the room and hall bathroom–her husband beaming pure support as he watched–whoa…and wow.
Moms, take note–there is one universal that fathers do best–knowing when to leave the dorm. Please do not linger for hours wringing your hands, and ‘pre-worrying’–a concept coined by Jane. Know when to cut bait–the minute your son or daughter is chatting away with a roomie or hallmate, or engaged in any sort of activity, take to the road. It’s okay–even if all of their suitemates have the same names as the most recent tropical depressions and hurricanes. Prolonging the good-bye makes everyone miserable. (Having siblings present may expedite the saying good-bye process, since they will soon be so over it and want to hurry back home to take command over the newly departed’s video games or clothes closet. Your student can place his clothes into the dresser on his own. They need something to do, too, to get their mind off the first freshman day.
Grab some Mason-Dixon tea to go (half-sweet, half unsweet) and get on the highway with the other teary or relieved parents and know you are not alone. (And it’s okay if you are teary slash jubilant, too–absolutely nothing wrong with that). Text or email your child to make yourself feel better. Just realize it will often be a one-way street of communication, and that’s for the good. They are busy having fun, or better yet, going to class. They will love hearing from you. All sound advice from various Orientations over the years. One dean stood on stage and in his final remarks asked us to, “remember back when your child was learning to ride a bike, and the moment came when you finally had to let go of the seat, and you were left to watch them fly away from you?” The art of letting go–sigh…another blog. There was not a dry eye in the house during that orientation session.
Perhaps it’s good that move-in day is so physically and emotionally exhausting–so go sit in the car, drink your tea and text away. And do not listen to sad songs on the radio. (Tomorrow, you are allowed to Have a Fit and Fall in it, let’s just get through today). Pull out your calendar and find a weekend (in the near distant future) when you can go for a visit and take 13 hallmates out for steaks at Longhorn. When you get home, take a nice long bath and go out to dinner, or order up some divine delivery, and give yourself a huge slap on the back! You did it!
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