The first year students are here and wandering around in wide-eyed wonder. Their parents are wandering around in a stupor, facing the parenting-music. Their children are taking yet another step toward independence. I wrote this little precis for my yoga buddies who are enduring this gut-wrenching transition, and they encouraged me to put it here. Bless their hearts, it makes for an easy resumption to blogging!
OK... listen up.... here's what you do. (I've taken two kids to college and -by the skin of my teeth- survived the experience.)
On the ride to college - It will just feel like dropping the kid off at camp or something. That part won't be bad.
When you get to the "hauling 18000 pounds of crap/valuable stuff up three flights of stairs (it's a law... they ALL live on at least the third floor, apparently) start distracting yourself. Marvel at how old and unfit all those OTHER parents are. Remark on how clearly gifted and stunning your child is compared to all the other students. Regular parenting stuff ;)
You'll need at least one trip to Target for the things you forgot and the storage things that will make that 18000 pounds of stuff fit into a small room with only one outlet and that's under the bed. That's like a puzzle. Engage with the puzzle. Do NOT think about why you have this puzzle to solve. No good can come from that.... you should have considered this that night 19 years ago when you conceived this child. Just buy power strips.
Now it gets hard and you just have to punt.
Go back to the room. Plug in a few things. Leave. Really. We tried the "let's go to lunch with your new roommate" thing. Don't. The college has things planned for them and they need to go to those things.
NB: They can not see you cry. They know you're crying, but if they see it, it gets them off-step and they're already nervous. "All" you have to do is smile, give hugs, tell them you're proud (don't lose it here) and high-tail it for the stairwell where you can cry all you need to.
And now you get to figure out who you are without daily parenting tasks. That's chapter 2. I haven't written that chapter yet ;)