Parenting Perspective: And they're off?

August 18, 2011 11:54:21 AM PDT
One week ago today, we loaded up the mini-van and drove our son Jason out to Pittsburgh to start football camp and his freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University.

And I was a complete and total emotional wreck! Yes, I know I've blogged and written parenting reports all about letting go and encouraging your children to be independent.

But as they say in that commercial, "Saying it and doing it are two different things!"

And it turns out I'm not alone. Several of my Facebook friends are going through the same major life transition with their college-bound sons and daughters. Here are some of their posts:

"Off to Tucson to take B. to college, wasn't he just that kid who was loving Barney the purple dinosaur, riding his scooter, playing with matchbox cars and collecting postcards?!"

"And so it begins....Leaving to take J. to PSU. Bittersweet moment!!!"

"Transitions in life don't often slap you in the face. One is aware of them only on reflection. Taking your first born to college is definitely the slap-in-the-face kind."

Another friend posted a minute-by-minute countdown to the time her daughter left, along with photos of her in her Dad's arms at birth and her little tutu at a dance recital. Her comment, "How did this go by so quickly... I blinked and she is all grown up!! Emory, here she comes........"

I was pretty weepy the night before we left for Pittsburgh and in the hotel the night before we moved him into his dorm room. And I shed a few tears during that final hug, before we headed back onto the Turnpike. But now that I'm home, it's getting a little better. It's a good news/bad news kind of thing.

The bad news: he seems to have a stomach bug and there's nothing I can to help him, except suggest he tell the team doctor and follow the medical advice they'll give him.

The good news: unlike when I went to school and I either had to write letters home or wait for the once-a-week Sunday night long-distance phone call from my parents, communication now is much easier. We text, Facebook chat and Skype each day. Also, his room at home is finally clean. And I have a lot less laundry now. I'm trying to look on the bright side.

And so, to all the Moms (and Dads) who're feeling a little teary as they drop their "babies" off over the next couple of weeks, here's my free advice (and you know what they say that's worth?). Go ahead, let the tears flow. But let the kids go too. You'll both be fine. You've spent 18 years getting them ready for this and they'll be ok. They know how to get in touch with you or even get home if they need to.

And, one more thing, start looking for those cheap fares for Parents' Weekend ? my flight and hotel are already booked!

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