Your destination. Eventually.
As August drags on and college gets closer, remember that this is a transition for the whole family. But mostly, it’s a transition for you, and four years of Party Central for him. Here are some fresh new ways to tackle this age-old rite of passage.
- Waste your money on a few last-minute motivational plaques that he will never look at.
Vandals will soon replace the second verb anyway.
- Refer to move-in day as “Doomsday.” Include it on your calendar, preferably written in tear-stained black letters.
- For extra drama, take up a few old-fashioned mourning rituals before your child leaves. Send all your friends black-edged photos of your kid. Wear a black armband. Better yet, put on sackcloth and ashes and stand in the town square rending them.
Yep, that’s you.
- Film yourself blubbering incoherently and post on any social media that your child has a chance of seeing.
- Use this time to reflect on what’s really important, i.e. knowing that the privilege of plastering your kid’s college decal on your car will cost you more than all the cars you’ve ever owned put together.
That’s one expensive decal.
- Sneak a favorite sibling into your kid’s luggage as a quick pick-me-up when homesickness strikes.
Just like home.
- In the car, ask tearfully if he wants to play the license plate game, “one last time.”
- On campus, be sympathetic to other parents going through a tough time. A good ice-breaker: “Isn’t it terrific that the college doesn’t hold felony convictions against freshmen?”
- Adopt a spirit of friendly competition. Challenge the parents of your kid’s roommate to a series of zany activities, including competitive bed-making, clothes hanger bingo, and who can say, “Wow, this dorm is way cooler than anything we had,” more convincingly.
Ready, set, hang!
- When you hug your child goodbye, whisper “You’re dead to me” in his ear.
- The second you get home, post 10,000 baby pictures on social media. It will be like he never left.
Because this is how you still see your college kid.
As August drags on, many of us need to go college shopping. You may remember this fun ritual from your own undergraduate days, when you rampaged through Sears, locked in mortal combat with your mother over whether to buy the neon green or dusty rose colored towels. Never fear, it’s just as much fun on the other end. Follow these tips for a shopping adventure to delight everyone.
If you went to college in the eighties, you had one of these blankets.
- Keep reminding your child that life wasn’t soft and comfortable when you went to college; a six-pack of Bud and a hot plate with a frayed cord were plenty good enough for you.
- Insist on purchasing several items from her college’s “forbidden” list. Assure your kid that “It belongs to my roommate!” is an iron-clad excuse for any misdemeanor.
These are more like friendly suggestions than rules.
- Go to Bed Bath and Beyond with a six-inch wad of coupons from other retailers. As you present each one, say: “I know this isn’t from here, but am I allowed to use it?” To involve your child, have her stand next to you recording the hijinks on her iPhone.
- Insist that she buy bedding in shades of green and yellow, because you’re “sure she’s going to be put in Slytherin.”
Your kid is a little Draco.
- Encourage your child to have one full-out tantrum in the retail establishment of her choice, for old time’s sake.
- Burst into Home Depot and demand to know where they keep the bikini line trimmers.
No, not these.
- When the cashier announces your grand total, fall down on the floor in a pretend faint. Wave your hand weakly in front of your face and croak “Smelling…salts.”
- Write passive-aggressive notes on your kid’s brand new white board when she’s not looking.
- Likewise, take a Sharpie and scrawl “I can see what you’re doing” on her new mirror.
For years, a parent’s best friend.
- Confuse her completely by threatening to shop online next year.