What It’s Really Like to Take Your Kid to College

This time last week I was a wreck. A sleep-deprived, irritable, overwhelmed wreck. My oldest was caught in a flurry of child-like behaviors while simultaneously trying to assert his independence. My two youngest felt like they were losing their best friend. I couldn’t enjoy the final moments of living with him and them. See why I changed the name of the blog from My Life With Him and Them to Hey Twilli? 

Our lives were changing. The nest was starting to become empty. The first of my tribe was spending his final days with me at home, the second was caught in the anticipation that she will be in this situation next year, and the third was anxiously preparing for her departure two years after that. I never knew that taking one child to college would open the floodgates to everyone leaving, and yet it did.

My prayer partner warned me. My mother warned me. My cousins warned me. Even my ex-husband warned me.

“I’m fine. We’ll be fine. It’s all fine.” And I truly believed it when I said it.

Then all of a sudden, I wasn’t fine.

A few unexpected things happened the week we were leaving. Things like a computer not being delivered to the right address. Things like the declaration of, “Sorry mom I won’t be at the family reunion because I’m a college man now.” Things like “We still don’t have his final high school transcript.” After I sent it like 5,000 times.Yes…5,000. And the icing on the cake – things like, “We’ve already had a roommate issue? You aren’t even there yet!”

In all of the stress, there were good moments that were filled with laughter and fun with the people we love the most. There was shopping and more than a few trips to Target. And there was the special joy of sharing my alma mater with one of my kids.

In our family, when one goes to college we all go to college. And it doesn’t hurt that our family reunion was the same weekend and only an hour away.

We did a lot that weekend. As my daughters would say, it was a whole lotta whole lotta. It was extra because it was us. I did take note of all the thoughts I experienced from the time our journey began Friday until when I returned home on Monday. Here’s how it all went down in my head:

  • We did it! 12 years of school!!!!
  • Yay!!! This is the same place I remember.
  • Oh no…this is the same place I remember. Some of these buildings look EXACTLY the same.
  • He has so much stuff.
  • Where did all of this stuff come from? Oh, I bought it.
  • I haven’t thought about the first time I saw him in the hospital this much since the first time I saw him in the hospital.
  • The basement of the campus library is a nice quiet place to study and….STAY AWAY FROM THE BASEMENT OF THE LIBRARY.
  • This is so much stuff.

The one thing I underestimated was all the stuff he had.

  • Keep moving. If I stop moving I will cry.
  • All the college girls are beautiful…he’s going to lose his mind.
  • OMG…sex.
  • 28 years ago I was a college freshman. Or freshperson as we said during our politically correct era of the early 90s.
  • I was such a cool advisor when I worked at a college. Are his advisors that cool?
  • Oh wow, I know that boy’s momma, I know that girl’s auntie…..we all went to school here together.
  • You plan to get body piercings and tattoos when we leave? Oh.
  • Do I really have a kid in college?
  • I’m not wearing that college mom shirt. I’m wearing that college alumni shirt.
  • If one more person tells me I’m going to cry…
  • Why are the do-rags and cologne on display on his bookshelf? Isn’t that for books?
  • This really is the best place for him to be.
  • Who’s going to get me a glass of water at home?
  • Oh, bed risers really are helpful.
  • Why is every college in the state moving in this weekend?
  • I wish someone would tell me to move my car…I AM AN ALUMNA.
  • I should buy him some cold medicine.
  • And school supplies. He needs school supplies.
  • Should I go to Walmart again? We don’t have to leave right now.
  • OMG. This is really happening.
  • My baby is a college man.
  • Does he know that HH on his schedule means Holmes Hall?
  • If he breaks the heart of one of my sorority sisters on campus, I will kill him.
  • Is he going to miss us?
  • I can’t do this two more times.
  • October is only 2 months away. We’ll see him soon.
  • October is 2 months away. How am I going to survive?
  • Do other parents feel this weird?
  • How can that mother leave her baby here with no family and be 1,000 miles away?
  • That college girl’s eyebrows are amazing. I bet he thinks so too.
  • Did my parents go through this?
  • My mother is going to freak out when she sees that earring and tattoo.
  • I hope my mother never sees that earring and tattoo.
  • He didn’t really graduate high school, did he?
  • I hope he reads his bible.
  • What on earth is ghetto trail mix?
  • Please, please remember to read that bible.
  • Call the men in our family if you need manly advice.
  • Uh oh…he’s going to need manly advice.

Thank goodness for the strong Christian men who can advise him in so many ways that I can’t.

  • Maybe I will wear the college mom shirt.
  • Nah, I’m not wearing the college mom shirt.

Yard sign, anyone?

  • I’m so glad he’s a boy.
  • Oh snap. I have to do this two more times…with girls!
  • If he says “I’m a college man” one more time, I will scream.
  • That bible…he needs to read it!
  • How is he going to celebrate his birthday without me?
  • How am I going to celebrate his birthday without him?
  • Should I tell the roommate he once knew all the lyrics from High School Musical?
  • Should I just tell my mom about the piercing and the tattoo?
  • We did pack the bible, didn’t we?
  • I should hug him again.
  • If I hug him again I will definitely cry.
  • Is he going to slow dance with these pretty girls?
  • Was I that pretty when I was 18?
  • The smartest place to buy a refrigerator and/ or a microwave is Home Depot. No lines!
  • Don’t talk to me about FERPA. I am the poster child for FERPA. I have worked at a college for 22 years.
  • These parents aren’t nearly as hip as I am.
  • Make good choices. Make good choices. MAKE GOOD CHOICES.
  • In light of his fish allergy, we’re eating catfish for dinner as soon as we get home.
  • I love the state of Mississippi.
  • The state of Mississippi took my baby!
  • The Roomify and Dormify people are the smartest people on earth. Everything you need for the dorm room can be shipped to you in one box!
  • I have the best cousins on the planet.
  • All moms need at least one friend who works on campus. Maybe two.
  • FERPA isn’t a real thing, is it?
  • Every time I see a baby I think, “Tomorrow that baby will be in college.” YES. TOMORROW.
  • We did it. He’s there and his sisters and I are here…thank goodness for FaceTime!


One thought on “What It’s Really Like to Take Your Kid to College

  1. i can’t. i can’t read this without tearing up. i can’t believe we’re at this day. i can’t believe we’ll be doing it again…and again…and again. i can’t believe god blessed me with such a sister-friend so long ago who would walk out life with me. ❤ momma, we can do hard things!! (yay us!)

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