Yesterday I checked another big life event off the list. Something that you hear about other people doing but don’t really think about doing yourself until you are in the middle of it.
No, I took my daughter shopping for college.
You know, the anticipated trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target to get all the cute dorm room things that will never actually fit in her new room and/or things that will never be seen under all the piles of crap that will litter the floor by mid-September.
And while it was an exciting and fun day, it didn’t come without a few lessons. Since I know some of you will be tackling this job either in the coming weeks or years, I wanted to share a few of them with you.
If you want to thank me, send cash.
I’ll need it now to pay her tuition.
Do get her the mattress cover that protects against bed bugs, allergens and other contaminants.
Don’t think of what “other contaminants” might mean.
Do encourage her to get the cute dry erase board for her dorm room door.
Don’t tell her that by the end of week one someone will have drawn a penis on it in Sharpie.
Do get her two sheet sets so she can change her sheets while one is in the wash.
Don’t think about the fact that the second one will probably never be opened.
Do get her at least 25 good hangers.
Don’t tell her that only 10 will fit in her closet.
Do buy plenty of Command Damage-Free hooks and wall adhesive.
Don’t mention that nothing sticks to cinder-block walls which is precisely why they use them in prison cells.
Do buy her cute, colorful towels.
Don’t think about the fact that boys will see her wrapped in them as she walks back to her room from the communal bathrooms.
Do tell her that having a communal bathroom won’t be nearly as bad as she thinks it will be!
Don’t vomit in your mouth when you’re telling this to her.
Do treat her to a nice lunch.
Don’t let her know it’s the last time she’ll eat real food until Thanksgiving.
Do listen when she admits she’s getting a little scared about leaving home.
Don’t throw your arms around her, lock her in her room and Google “Home-Colleging.”
Do make sure to get her a vial of pepper spray to put on her keychain.
Don’t even imagine a situation where she’ll need to use it.
Do buck up for a good memory foam mattress topper.
Don’t get one that will comfortably hold more than her body weight.
Do get her a microwave.
Don’t think she’ll ever use it for anything other than popcorn.
Do let her splurge on an item or two.
Don’t let her know it will be the last time you’re paying for it.
Do tell her how darling the mini-fridge is!
Don’t point out that it won’t hold more than two bottles of water and one cheese stick.
Do tuck a couple of surprises into her bags.
Don’t consider yourself a “surprise.”
Do get her an umbrella.
Don’t mention that no umbrella in the world will keep her dry when walking a half mile to class in the pouring rain.
Do put a box together of necessary pain relievers, Band-Aids, a thermometer and any other medications she takes regularly.
Don’t put an alert in your phone to check to make sure she took them.
Do remind her to plan for space for the million things that are currently littering the floors and flat surfaces of her room that she must take with her.
Don’t panic when you realize she will be leaving it all behind.
Do be understanding when she is contradictory of your many helpful suggestions.
Don’t laugh in six weeks when she calls to tell you you were right.
Do have fun and remember the day together.
Don’t look at it as an ending. Look at it as a beginning.