When Your Daughter Goes (Far) Off To College – Part 2
Editor’s Note: In Part 1, Susan Widick shared the lead-up to getting daughter Abbey off to Texas Christian University. In Part 2 below, she describes Move-in Day with Abbey, younger daughter Allie and husband Darrin.
***DISCLAIMER – I haven’t written a paper for a grade in nearly three decades. I am not the professional writer in our family, although I did write this myself. I don’t mean to offend anyone whose child goes off to college closer to home; I am just explaining my reasoning in coping with this change for me. Forgive me for threatening to give the finger to two total strangers – I didn’t follow through with it though. And, finally, this was supposed to be advice for my friends who have yet to send a child off to college, but it turned into more of a written purge of my emotions.
“One Piece of Good Advice I Did See on Facebook”
(Saw this in multiple places so I don’t know to whom credit is deserved.) “Attention freshmen who are moving in tomorrow: A little request: When your mom wants to unpack all of your clothes and make your bed — let her. When your dad wants to introduce himself to all the people on your floor — let him. When they want to take pictures of every move you make this weekend — let them. If they embarrass you or act crazy — let them. As you start the new chapter of your life, they are also staring the new chapter of theirs. And, believe it or not, this is probably more difficult for them than it is for you. So let them treat you like their ‘baby’ one last time.”
This is priceless. And those rules apply to siblings on move-in day as well!
Move-in day is just hard work and a gigantic to-do list. But it is VERY rewarding to watch all those packages that were stacked in the dining room for the past month get packed, transported across the miles, unloaded in the very hot summer Texas sun, carried in, sit waiting for an elevator (I know I could have organized this move-in process better!!!), unpacked, assembled and organized. And then ta-da: it looks like a Pinterest post that she and her roommate created! Then everyone stands back, admires it, and photographs it like a just-decorated Christmas tree. It’s also kind of sweet to hear your spouse say, “I didn’t think all this stuff would fit in here! I still don’t think she needs it all though…” I did nearly show two other dads my middle finger on move-in day when they said, “All this stuff is yours?” I could have flipped them off, but I am grateful for my restraint that I did not. If I wanted that kind of conversation, I would have had it with my own husband! My daughter will have Mucinex when she needs it or stain remover when she needs it (by the way, both were needed within the first 24 hours!) while THEIR daughters may need to borrow it!
“A Glimpse of Happiness to Come”
When she and her roommate take their first photos in that newly assembled room, you realize she is going to be so happy there that it may take the edge off your heartbreak…only a little…like oral pain meds take the edge off childbirth without an epidural (first-hand knowledge). But, the photos keep coming via text, Instagram and Snap Chat. It does help to see that great big smile and sparkle in her eyes each day. Sadly, I know the day will come when she is homesick, and I pray that I will have all the right things to say. I actually did surprise myself at our “goodbye.” Allie teared up first, then Abbey, and then Abbey looked at me. I knew she needed me to be strong. It was like an out-of-body experience because I actually was strong. I told her that “she’s got this!” It’s our new mantra after our recent vacation when she encouraged me to jump off a cliff into the Pacific Ocean by saying, “You’ve got this, Mom!”
First, thank you for giving her this great opportunity at TCU. Thank you for giving her the courage to pursue her dreams. Thank you for giving our family such dear friends and a loving family to support us all during this transition. I pray, Dear Lord, that I taught her enough. I pray that she will make friends that love her despite her flaws and love her for her strengths. I pray that the little girl who was so strong-willed that she threw a tantrum when I flushed her potty will be strong-willed enough to resist temptations that are wrong for her. I pray that you will watch over her and guide her as You have for these first 18 1/2 years. I pray that Allie will be strong as the younger sister back home. I pray she knows what a great father she has (he literally slept in the car the night we arrived in Fort Worth after midnight with our U-Haul full of her belongings because of a memo at the Hyatt warning of possible break-ins because the local criminals knew it was Move-in weekend. I’m not sure if he could have fought them off with just his iPhone, though. I thank You that he did not need to). I pray for Darrin to be strong as he sees his daughter go off to a university hundreds of miles away. I pray she loves TCU just as much as Darrin and I loved, and still love, the University of Missouri. I pray she never forgets The Golden Rule. I pray she never forgets to call and text her mother. I pray she never forgets where home is. And, most of all, I pray for her to be happy. Amen.
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