We are packing to take our 18-year-old son off to college at the end of this week. A small pile of sundry “Do Not Forget!” items accumulating by the door serves as a startling reminder that I have less than a week to tie up a few loose parenting ends before I send him out into the wide blue yonder they call the real world.
1. After we pay your tuition, you will have more money than we do.
I’m so glad we had the “money talk” today. When you asked me how you would be obtaining cash flow while you were away at school and I explained, you seemed somewhat taken aback.
Son, we are providing for your tuition, books, lodging and a generous meal plan that includes more caloric energy per day than the rest of our family consumed the entire month you were born. I can’t imagine what else you think you’re going to need, but I saw all those graduation checks that came rolling in last May. I happen to know you have more money in your bank account than I do. Use it.
When you complained that you didn’t want to use your precious money to buy things like shampoo, I saw a little of your father in you. He feels the same way. That’s why he takes business trips. It’s solely to obtain those tiny little bottles of free hotel shampoo. Got any business trips on your calendar? I didn’t think so. Just buy yourself some shampoo, please.
And, look at it this way — when your Grandmothers ask you what you spent all your graduation money on, and you answer, “suds,” you won’t really be lying.
2. Any moron can do laundry.
People have been telling me forever that I was doing you a genuine disservice by doing your laundry all these years. But I didn’t mind doing your laundry while you played sports and made those stellar grades. When my concerned friends worried aloud in my presence that you wouldn’t know how to do laundry when you left for college, I assured them I could teach any moron to do laundry in 5 minutes, and that I planned to do so right before we left for College Town, USA. And, no, I did not just call you a moron. I’m your mother, I love you.
As usual, I was right. We knocked that task out today in no time flat. All in all, you did well. I’m sorry your clothes came out wrinkled and you’re concerned about having to iron them. When I told you the solution was simply to do smaller loads so that your clothes could fluff out more freely, and you responded with “that would take too long” and that you didn’t want to spend all your free time doing laundry, I was kind of stung. Did you realize when you spoke those words, that you were taking a personal swipe at my entire existence? I do laundry for a living — so ouch!
One more thing — as you get older, you’ll realize there is no such thing as “free time.” Any moron knows that. Okay, I think now I just called you a moron.
3. I am always going to parent you.
By no means should you ever feel that I’m done parenting you. Last night, you hung out at your friend’s house awfully late. I texted you when I was ready to go to bed to see what your plans were and you came across a wee bit cavalier. I know that this time next week you will be on your own and I won’t have the luxury of knowing right where you are, but I plan to parent you right up to the very last possible second. Up the dormitory staircase, down the dormitory hallway, and right into the dorm room.
And Spoiler Alert: When you come home for Christmas and Thanksgiving, I’m going to pick up right where I left off. If you don’t like the sound of that, you should plan some type of a business trip for those weeks. You can pick up some shampoo while you’re there. That’s just a suggestion. It’s whatever you think. I’m not going to tell you what to do.
Wait — scratch that last part — actually, I am.
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