It’s that time of year when many of you have kids going off to college for the first time. I have been speaking to several Malibu parents who are about to fly or drive, with their kids in tow, to everywhere from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters. After years of planning (and often over planning) for this significant event, many of you are already suffering from separation anxiety—get over it!
I remember when my parents first took me to George School, a Friends secondary boarding school in beautiful Bucks County, Penn. My mother told me years later that as soon as she and my dad left the campus, she broke down in tears. It is incomprehensible that getting rid of me would cause anybody sorrow, but mothers are a special breed.
When my folks drove off, I can assure you there was not a tear to be had on my part. I was overjoyed to meet my new classmates, and within hours, shy me was running for class president. I had the political gene in my DNA even then.
The point of all of this reminiscing is simple enough—your child will more than likely have a positive experience in college. The question is whether you can adjust to your new role. The goal of raising a child is to produce an independent adult; college provides an opportunity to learn how to be that independent person. And yes, independent from you.
Just as your children will hopefully enjoy their newfound freedom, so should you. If this is your last child at home, you needn’t bolt the door to the master bedroom anymore. Rediscover your mate, pursue a hobby and smell the roses. Go out on the patio or balcony and shout in your loudest voice: “Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty free at last!” You have earned your freedom—enjoy it.
Don’t worry for a minute that you will lose touch with your offspring. Your child will contact you regularly for more money. Your role as an ATM will remain fully intact.