7 Signs That We’re Ready For Her To Leave (For College)


Everyone warned us our teenager would push our buttons in the weeks leading up to her departure for college. We have had our share of friction.  What 18 year-old wants to be told she should spend more time with her family?  Or that she really needs to clean up the pigsty she calls her bedroom?  Or that it makes me nervous that she’s heading into the city by train late at night (even if she’s with her boyfriend)?

The truth is, it’s hard for parents like me to completely relinquish control, even though I know I will have to, four days from now.  But as much as I know we will all miss her when she’s gone (and she certainly will miss us), I’ve stumbled upon some clear signs that the time really has come to say buh-bye to our firstborn child.

1.  The obstacle course in her bedroom is making its way into other rooms.  



                                                    (Some semblance of order needs to be restored – soon).


2.   We rarely see her for dinner anymore.  Instead, we see lots of these:



                                               Money for eating out and take-out has to be running low by now.


3.  Clothing that she probably forgot she had is suddenly in the laundry.   

Apparently her roommate is more deserving of seeing these clothes on her and seeing them freshly laundered.


4.  She’s restless.

I’m willing to bet August 31st is one of the last college move-in dates in New England.   Most kids have left for college by now.  Most local kids have gone back to school,too.  Summer’s winding down.  Even watching reruns of Friends and One Tree Hill is getting old. 


5.   Everything is suddenly a last.   And every last comes with an emotional parting.

…. the last time she’ll see Grammy/Papa/Auntie/her cousins/this friend/that friend/co-workers/her boyfriend’s family/her boyfriend’s dog/this beach/this coffee shop… despite the fact that her college is only a 2-hour drive from home.


6.  Her little sister has set a deadline, for any clothes that have been borrowed from her to be returned.

The battle between sisters who wear the same size clothing is fierce and seemingly endless in our house,  even though we all know they love — and will miss  — each other.


But there is one sign-that-it’s-time-to-say-good-bye that makes me smile:


7.   She’s taking charge of the next phase of her life. 


At some point, all parents will have to cut the umbilical chord and watch to see if the young adult they’ve raised can successfully fly solo.  

These past few weeks, I’ve witnessed a young lady scheduling her yearly physical, speaking with her adviser, renting books online, buying dorm room and school supplies with her own money, writing thank you notes, and making sure she spends quality time with the friends and relatives she loves so much. 

Yes, even us.








6 responses »

  1. Hi Ellen. I always enjoy your teen tales. I just posted a piece about living through our triplets senior year and trying to make a Senior Ad Page filled with pictures of milestones of their lives. It’s making me crazy but is fun at the same time. I love reading about you and your teens. This piece is very appropriate for me this year. Please keep up the writing. I took a long hiatus but am starting back now that summer away from computers and a fall marching band season is winding down.

  2. I just sent my daughter off to college last week. She said she’s having the most fun she’s ever had in her life. It is gratifying to know that she can take care of herself and is spreading her wings, but I miss her. Good luck with this new phase of your life!

    • That’s so great to hear that your child is adjusting nicely. That’s whaling I’m hoping and praying for!! I have a feeling my daughter will adjust well, too. Thanks for commenting!

  3. I’m thinking of the whole family as each of you begin to adjust to receiving lots of text messages and phone calls with updates of college life. This is a big change for not only the college bound, but the entire family. Try to enjoy move in day and look forward to frequent calls home for advice and to simply hear a loving voice from Mom, Dad, Brother, and Sis.

    • There HAVE been some text messages and a couple of face-times (which we aren’t quite used to doing yet). We are trying to give her some space but loving any bit of information she shares with us! Life is good!

Please share your thoughts.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s