“Mom, when are we going to start packing for college?” Not that my daughter hasn’t already started. In some ways I think she began five years ago, but she started in earnest about the time she turned in her matriculation forms. She has assembled a packing list so impressive she probably could publish it in one of those “off to college” guides. But, because you’re my friends, I’m offering it to you for free: Sarah’s College Packing List.
Since the items are shaded to indicate what she needs to buy now versus what she can or needs to buy once arriving at college, the project is well-delineated. The two of us can break it into manageable pieces and more important, we can have fun doing it together — I’m looking forward to spending time with my daughter before she leaves home, helping her get ready to launch this next phase of her life.
It’s so different from when my son left for college last year. He didn’t care about the lists I offered him. Wasn’t interested for me to help him prepare by purchasing sheets, towels and other basics for his dorm room. He mainly seemed concerned about backing up the (hopefully legal) files on his various hard drives and determining how to transport his electronics cross-country. Since he was going to college in an urban area, he figured he could buy everything he needed after arrival — all that was required was access to Mom and Dad’s credit card.
Different approaches, both of them valid. I eventually insisted that my son allow me to purchase at least some sheets and towels, as I needed to do it for my own process of letting him go. He understood and relented. He also let his father and me accompany him to the East Coast, but I saw his dorm room only that weekend and no more the entire year. This was hard for me, but it was what he wanted. I’ve seen him a lot this summer, and that’s been a real treat.
But with my girl, I get to go shopping! We start next week, I think. She’s in control of the list. Thanks to Facebook, video chat and goodness knows what other wonders of modern technology, she already has more information about her room, its layout, her roommate (of course), and all kinds of stuff my generation could only have guessed at prior to arriving on campus. All I know is that her energy level for college in general, and for shopping in particular, is high — I just hope I can keep up.