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What I Wished I Had Known Before My Daughter Left for College

It’s 5:00 o’clock on a Saturday…. No, there is no regular crowd shuffling in, thank you Billy Joel. Let’s begin again, shall we? It’s 5 o’clock on a steamy late-August Mississippi afternoon. My husband and I along with our two daughters have been unloading two SUV’s packed so full you could only use the side mirrors to see what was happening behind you when driving since 9:00 AM.

Like thousands of other parents, we are moving our oldest into her first college dorm room. We have done all the things; climbed stairs with arms near the breaking point, because no one wants to wait 30+ minutes for the elevator, unrolled rugs, made beds, hung clothes on skinny velvet hangers, organized toiletries, and hair tools. Shoes have been stashed, mirrors hung along with artwork, bathrobes, and the special photos from home. The minifridge and snack baskets are tucked away filled to the brim. We have hung drapes, special lighting, and cute things on the door. We have figured out exactly how many extension cords are needed to watch Netflix in bed, charge your phone, text, and air pop popcorn; preferably all at once. We have fluffed ALL of the pillows after rearranging them at least twice, artfully displayed the end of bed throws and sufficiently documented everything for Social Media. AND then, we reach that magical hour.

My husband, quietly leans over to me and murmurs, “I think it’s time.” Time? For what?? Oh…. it is TIME to leave. Not as in go to dinner and spend the night at a local hotel. It is TIME to LEAVE. Physically, metaphorically. It is time to drive away from our beautiful, talented, first born child and leave her over 600 miles away from us. REALLY??