It's mid-summer and along with the sun, road trips, and backyard grilling - there's something that's been scratching away at the back of my mind: My daughter is leaving for college soon. I won't be waiting for her to come home after a night out with her friends, praying with her at the dinner table or laughing with her over some goofy dad-comment that slipped out of my mouth.
Today at the radio studio, I looked at the wall in the break room - where I marked her height year after year, from the time she was 5 years old. Now, I know a lot of parents go through the same thing. Some, like me, go a little nuts and won't let go. We are known as 'helicopter parents'.
I was reading an article in the New York Times, which talked about the crazy lengths some parents go to when their kids go away to college. They'll call the admissions director, insist on picking their roommate and some will even stay at a hotel near campus and attend the first week of classes with them! I was told it was inappropriate. Crazy helicopter parents are the reason 90% of colleges now have an orientation - for parents only - so they can understand that their kids are going to be okay.
This new phase will definitely be harder on me than it is for her, and I know she's going to be fine. But I found this piece of advice helpful, from the book, "Letting Go: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the College Years." "Even though you’re letting go, remain an anchor. Encourage your child to turn to you in good times and bad. Stay steady even when your child is shaky. And resist the temptation of giving one last lecture. They’ve been listening more than you know."
I'm so excited about this new chapter in Prima's life and so incredibly proud of the woman she has become. I see her Mom in her more and more each day and that’s not faint praise.
God speed, you fellow empty nesters. I'm with you in spirit.
John Tesh and his daughter, Prima.