There’s a camaraderie surrounding college freshman move- in day. I realize that we may be officially the last parents to move in their kid (September 25th @ 2pm!) so at least I have an experienced audience. Let’s reminisce….
It starts with the trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond. The items you selected in your hometown city are lovingly waiting for you to purchase in the college town/city. (Note: whomever came up with that idea better have been promoted). And, BBB is dialed in. What parent doesn’t buy the bed-bug protector cover which is about five layers under all the other dorm bedding they “recommend”? And, all the while you navigate the store like it’s Costco the day before 4th of July. Impulse purchases from nervous freshmen occur in every department. And the gridlock of carts driven by anxious parents’ rivals Los Angeles traffic. Yet, there’s a camaraderie – the anxious smile from one parent to another. The nervous laughter at check out. And, despite the unlikely chance you’ll ever cross paths again, your new friend, John, still says, “Hey, maybe we’ll see you tomorrow”. There’s a buzz in the air because we are all in the same situation; launching our child into the exciting, unknown, challenging world of college. It doesn’t matter if you are a veteran or a rookie, we all know that in 24 hours the dynamic in our families will change.
In our case, our daughter’s self-awareness was helpful, “Don’t get mad at me if I snap at you”. Duly noted. Her level of anticipation was high. She was flying solo at a big, out of state school. I was having similar emotions but was relying on age and wisdom (mostly age) to keep up the calm front. Her dad and I braced ourselves for the snarky-ness, but it never came. As we drove onto campus inventorying what we forgot: 1. Clip on fan (top bunk), 2. Clip on light (top bunk), 3. Coffee cup (to use the prohibited Keurig), 4. Toothbrush (you didn’t pack a toothbrush?) we chose excitement. And, we chose camaraderie.
The organized chaos of two parents per girl times three had its challenges. (Forgive the stereotypes but this is how it went down). Time to send Dad A to purchase waters, Dad B (the handiest one) needs to McGyver the fridge and make sure the dry erase boards are level. Dad C is on stand-by in the hallway. Moms are frenetically making the five layer beds. Trust me, making a top bunk requires agility and stamina. The experience took on the energy of an adventure: “Who needs an extension cord?”, “I have extra command strips”, “I can share this bin” sort of teamwork. The girls felt it. The parents embraced it. Perhaps it was the reality that we were all Over-Ready for the launch. Perhaps we subconsciously and collectively chose camaraderie. While we are all hopeful and the goodbyes weren’t too dramatic, no one can predict the next year. But the girls are off to a great start. (Matching bedding sealed the deal. Kismet!) A big high five to the families. It was a case of self-fulfilling prophecy and darn good attitudes. As Christiane Northrup writes, “The perfect outcome has already been chosen”. And, I believe it.