Dear parents of college students,
Photo Credit: LaTonya Williams Photography
Moving out is difficult. We all have seen the pile of clothes, decorations, notebooks, and memos from home accumulating in our bedroom or the living room shortly before move-in. I don’t know about you, but for me that’s when it gets real. That’s when I know in the back of my mind that ‘the pile’ means trekking back to college without all of the home made meals, shopping trips together, and ultimately always having your presence around the house. Yes, there are times where I mutter under my breath that I can’t wait to get back to school and I don’t know why I moved home for the summer, but that seems to be what comes with being a twenty-something. Just know that one of the main reasons I come home is for you. To lay on the couch watching TV shows making comments about it and attempting not to burn the brownies again. To be able to run to Wal-Mart together even though we hate that store and going to open houses around town just because.
Your advice is something I’m finally willing to listen to even with how much I pushed it away in high school. I’m finally ready to listen to your experiences with bad roommates, living on your own, drinking too much for the first time, failing a class, not seeing eye-to-eye with a professor, going through a break-up, and adjusting to independent adult life. They are finally stories I’m ready to listen to because I want to hear that someone else went through it too. Yes, you probably aren’t too happy with me that I messed up, but hopefully you will be understanding because we’ve all been there.
When I don’t call or text every day or even every other day, remember that it’s not because I’m pushing you away. It’s because I’m finding myself at my university. I’m going to classes, studying, meeting up with friends, and going to organization meetings. I promise that when something exciting happens I’ll text or call you after it happens. Just know that sometimes I need that hour long phone call even when you really need to get work done before tomorrow. I promise the long phone calls are worth it, we both need them.
Thank you for your sacrifice. Even if you aren’t paying for all of school or any living expenses, there is so much that you have given up to give us what we want and know that I finally appreciate it. The food you send me home with, the care packages, the sweet notes in the mail, covering my part of my bill when I come short, gifting me with money to do laundry, and so much more. It only took over 18 years for me to get it and fully understand what it took to get me where I am, but I appreciate it. I appreciate it more than words can describe on here.
I finally appreciate the family traditions and silly quirks the family shares. I still want to go school supply shopping before the year begins simply because it’s something we’ve done since pre-school, I want to go to at least one baseball game over the summer since finally our team won the world series, I want to help out with making super for Christmas day, and I can’t wait to help with the Black Friday shopping list. I miss the random trips to bigger cities to go shopping at the ‘better stores’, I miss baking cookies in the middle of the night, and random ice cream outtings.
Overall, you are one of the biggest role-models in my life. I turn to you for everything that comes up as I venture through college purely because I crave your opinion. I miss the way ‘mom does it’ and how everything has your touch on it. I want to hear how you’ve gone through the same things I have, even if you might be disappointed that I found myself in that situation. I want all your tips on how to make the perfect grilled cheese from home and might need some tips on how to get that stain out of my favorite white shirt. I want to hear that I have a chance of surviving a crazy thing called adulthood and that my college major will take me somewhere in life. I want to hear that you also woke up at 2 am panicking that you weren’t going to graduate on time and that you also had that one professor who counted off pointless things on your test. I want to know that someone else went through this craziness called college (or at least understands what craziness I’m going through in college) and that it will all be okay. Because when a parent says it will all be okay, it gives me the best sense of peace in the world. Thank you for that.