Preschool started for our 3 1/2 year old, Charles, last Monday, August 13th. Today, August 20th, is the first day of classes at Augustana. It does not escape my notice that the next 15 years will likely fly by and soon I will not be there to hug my “little” boy on the first day of school, to give him a last gentle reminder to “do his best.”
Some of the kids at Charles’ preschool were screaming and gripping their parents tight. Some were cautious and timid. Some were friendly but wide-eyed. They were excited, and nervous and scared and full of anticipation and imagination. I’m not sure all those same feelings aren’t wrapped up in the students starting classes here at Augie.
As I hugged Charles goodbye on the second day of preschool, he gave me a quick hug back and said “Mom, I’ll be fine” with “fine” in that tone of voice that is a little consoling and a little patronizing (from my 3 year old!). I can actually picture the same phrase coming out of his mouth when I hug him goodbye that first year of college.
I am grateful for one difference – and that is a
lack of cell phones for 3 year olds. I don’t receive a text or a call at every minor issues at pre-school. If I have a recommendation for parents of college students, it’s to take a text hiatus (as tough as that might be) from your son or daughter. It will be better for you both if you don’t know that she’s annoyed by her roommate’s alarm or that he didn’t have someone to go to lunch with on the first day. Let you student “be fine.”If they are allowed to chronicle every infraction, it will make these adjustments
seem like issues rather than harmless transition moments.
I keep remembering Charles’ voice as we pulled up to Red Wagon on the first day “I’m going to be so excited.” Any day at a new school is exciting – it’s the beginning of the “rest of their life.” And college is where your son or daughter gets to really find out what they are going to be when they grow up. So, wipe away a tear, turn off your phone and let them “be fine.”