The Send Off



A couple weeks ago USA Today ran a story about how long freshman parents are staying at the colleges when they drop their kids off. It used to be parents would drive up for a day; help them move in, set up their room, maybe run out to buy a couple things they hadn’t realized they needed, take the kid to dinner and leave. Now apparently some are coming the night before and staying! One college president said they have started holding “final” question and answer periods for parents the day before classes started and a “farewell reception” as hints to get the parents to leave!


It was suggested that parents nowadays feel the need to make every milestone in their kids’ lives a huge event. Everything is bigger and more elaborate. Look at proms. And remember when grooms had their bachelor parties in a local bar or a friend’s house? Today we hear of them flying off toLas Vegasfor the party.


It was also suggested that in some cases the parents were trying to make up for not being there very much the first 18 years of the kid’s life and felt that the college send off, if big and emotional enough, could make up for that.


And then there are just the parents who can’t let go. Of course there have always been parents who can’t let go. John graduated from West Point and it was a well- known fact that when General McArthur was a cadet his mother moved toWest Point for four years to be near him.


The whole thing cracks me up.


I could tell you my belief that parents are like this because people live through other people’s lives too much instead of their own. Whether it’s reality TV, their fascination with celebrities or living vicariously through their children. But this isn’t that kind of column, so I won’t.


Even though I think it’s true.


We love Brittany, but after 12 years of making sure homework got done, “sleeping” with one eye open until she came in at night and falling over her shoes every time we came in the door, John and I were ready for the next stage and when we took her to school as a freshmen we related more to the ad we’ve seen in magazines where a teen-ager is standing on a street corner surrounded by luggage and a car is driving away.


 The text says, “5:00 pm. Drop kid off at college. 5:05 pm…what kid?”


Oh… you mean the kid whose number is first on my speed dial? The kid whose picture is in every room in my house? The kid, who even two years later, John and I still ask about first after we’ve been apart? “Did Britt call?” That kid?


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