Best Years of Your Life: 101

I spent the week packing my son’s things for college. Tyler is my third to leave the nest, so it should be easy this time, right? Not so much. And yes, there are sudden inconsolable bouts of crying. Me, not him. And noted obsessive compulsive behavior… “What if he runs out of shampoo, I better get him two. What if he needs paper clips, sticky notes, index cards, staples… what if he needs RUBBER BANDS!” God, I think the only thing I brought to college was a hot plate and a can of soup.

I get teary as I fold his bedding, weepy as I pack snacks — he needs something to eat when he’s up late studying, don’t cha know? — and I think I even started crying when I packed his toiletries. What’s wrong with me? It’s not like I haven’t done this before!

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The Family

Then suddenly I stop. And I think.

This kid is about to embark on the best years of his life. The friends he’ll make, the parties he’ll go to, the mornings he’ll wake up wondering what he did the night before…and the stories he’ll never tell me and I will never want to know. And, of course the education. Don’t forget the education.

I sit for a moment and take a stroll down memory lane. And I’m happy — just thinking about those years.

College isn’t just a time for education. It’s a time to cut loose. A time to get it out of your system before you enter the real world. Before you become a responsible adult with a job, a spouse, and children.

Just last summer one of my best friends from college (who happens to do stand-up comedy) told me he uses some of my college stories in his comedy act. To which I replied… If you EVER say my name (even when you’re touring another country), or TELL one of those stories when you’re in Syracuse — I will kill you. He already knew the rules. That’s why I love him to this day, and he’s still one of my best friends. I can only pray that Ty finds a friend like him in college.

So, now I go back to packing with a smile on my face. And I look at all of the stuff I bought him and I think… so what if I’ve packed enough to send him to say, Siberia for a year. That’s ok. I only have a couple days left to baby him, so I’m giving myself a pass.

Come Saturday, these will be the….wait, dare I say it? Yes, I’m going to use my potty mouth… these will be the best fucking years of his life! And I know, there’s something BIG in store for this boy! 🙂

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A Kindergarten Moment

Today is Friday, June 26th. The little guy in this photo will walk across the stage today, so thought it only appropriate to re-post “Kindergarten Moment.”

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Congratulations Tyler!

This week I mailed a check to Manhattanville College; it was a deposit towards my son’s freshmen year. As I put it in the mail, I realized that over the next few months I’m going to have a handful of “Kindergarten Moments” …his senior ball, his high school graduation and the day he leaves home for college.

Why do I call it a Kindergarten Moment? Well, that’s just a term I coined a while back when I tried to make sense of why we can’t hold back the tears when we put our child on the school bus for the very first day of Kindergarten… but the next day we’re fine. What’s so different about the second day that makes it ok?

Then it dawned on me. Every moment in our child’s life, that we consider a milestone, we force ourselves to really think about what it means. We embrace it, even though it makes us an emotional wreck. Because if we didn’t, we’d miss it altogether and we’d never get that moment back. So, on the first day of kindergarten we realize that our child is no longer a baby. And we realize he or she is growing up. And we cry. We had a Kindergarten Moment. Then, on the next day, we allow ourselves to feel normal again. We go through our daily routine. We try not to think about it. Because if we did, we’d go through life as blubbering idiots.

I’m trying to convince myself that this time it’ll be easier to let go. After all, he’s my third child and it’s not like I haven’t done this before. But I know deep down…it won’t be any different.

stay freeThere is one promise I made to my son. As he packs his belongings for college, I will not give him any box with the STAYFREE maxi pad logo stamped on the side… like I used when moving into my dorm. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but in retrospect not a good decision. I want him to have a fighting chance. 🙂

This photo was taken by my friend, Sara, who I’m sure is looking down from heaven and laughing. She was the one that always had her camera on hand to capture OUR Kindergarten Moments.