To those have requested details about the functionality of slim hangers, I do intend to publish more move-in tips. But I'm now convinced that it doesn't matter what you bring…The whole shopping thing is just a pricey time killer designed to distract you from that inevitable surreal moment when you give up your child and head back home a confused, teary, empty old person facing a long, sad existential crisis.
Yes, this is the emotional abyss I now share with most of my son's classmates' moms and dads. With that in mind, the Neurotic Parent is proud to offer emergency survival tips to those who just cannot cope with the loss of their older, younger or (gulp) only child.
1. Pretend that your son or daughter went to camp. For four years.
2. Get a dog. Name it after your son or daughter. How cute it will be when Justin comes home for Thanksgiving and finds another furry little Justin in the house, one that not only obeys curfew, but is always fast asleep by 9 pm.
3. Remember…They're not sad. They're tailgating and reading Sartre and running the Naked Mile. They're FREE….And they might even learn to think on a higher level and unlock the secrets of a new field, like neuroeconomics.
4. Plan a meeting 300 miles from your son or daughter's college and use it as an excuse to pop in and take him and his new friends to dinner. Blame it on JetBlue's schedules. (Seriously, I was heartbroken until I implemented this.)
5. If applicable, begin helicoptering and micromanaging your younger child. (Unfortunately this is not working for me. I haven't even gotten it together to make plans for BH's 16th birthday next week, or order his books on time.)
6. Send care packages and cheery notes to the numerous college students who were quarantined with Swine '09 just days after they arrived on campus.
7. Become addicted to Facebook. Spy on your kid…Google everyone he or she has friended. Play Wordscraper with your former attorney. Find comfort in the posts of other parents. Here is one mom's status:
kleenex,1 trip to Duane Reade, 2 trips to Staples, 3 trips to Bed Bath & Beyond, more kleenex, and a boy in college
8. And…the best suggestion of all – Look for the silver lining. One intuitive almost-perfect friend with impeccable taste cried for several days, until she realized that she now could delete her Dartmouth-bound son's seasons passes on Tivo…Although a seemingly learned scholar, his list of top t.v. shows included SuperJail, Nitro Circus www.nitrocircus.com and ManAnswers www.spike.com. But she chose to keep Top Gear, a show about three macho British race car drivers, to watch on those lonely nights when she really misses her boy.
This prompted me to check CJ's Tivoed faves. He mostly watches Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Night football – good riddance to those (sorry BH). But I just couldn't bring myself to delete his 10 seasons of Friends. I had thought about studying Italian or designing an outdoor living room, but now I will have a way to keep nostalgically busy - and be reminded of my son's shallow taste in entertainment – every night until Thanksgiving.