We are approaching the final countdown. The shopping is almost completed, although every BB&B virtual purchase creates anxiety and leads to hours of additional research. Window fan or Vornado? Will the sticky hooks work, or is it better to purchase the over-the-door ones, even if you don't know whether there IS a suitable door? What kind of rainboots would a teen actually wear, especially a teen who has never used outerclothes? And are bed risers as treacherous as they look in the package?
This whole process reminds me of the daunting task of outfitting the nursery before the baby arrived. Suddenly there were seemingly important consumer decisions to be made about bouncy seats, toilet locks, onesies, splat mats and especially strollers, all products that I barely knew existed before landing in Babyland. You would think that items for an 18-year old would not feel so unfamiliar, but they are equally as alien – egg crate foam, micro-fridge, shower bucket…How can we make responsible choices about these essentials if we've never before encountered them?
The wise TGDP (Talented Graphic Designer Pal), who has sent two kids off to college, insists that on move-in day, Bed/Bath/Buyer's Remorse will be the least of my worries. And the event of saying goodbye to my baby will also be not such a big deal, she promises, because I will no longer have to be mad at him every night for missing dinner and coming home late.
But, according to TGDP, there is one inevitable move-in situation that wil wreak havoc on my psyche: Using the bathroom in the dorm. TGDP broke it to me gently, but the vivid details of her shocking story have remained in my mind: When she moved her son into a top liberal arts college in Connecticut, she visited his dorm bathroom and there at the sink was a dad, washing his hands. My friend nodded politely to him, then entered a stall. As she sat on the lavatory several feet away, the friendly father continued to engage her in small talk…"Where are you from?" "Has your son decided on a major?" "Did you fly to Hartford or New York?", etc., etc.
The emotional impact of dropping off your child is one thing, but having to chat with male strangers while peeing is enough to bring anyone over the edge.
Same thing happened to me on move-in day…I found myself looking at a middle age father coming out of the bathroom stall. Rather surprising since I hadn’t focused on the fact that it wasn’t a ladies room.