12 Parents Get Real About What It Feels Like to Drop a Child Off at College
“I cried and prayed the whole way home, hoping that all my nagging about making good choices and being a good man sunk in. The hardest part was that the whole family dynamic changed—there was no turning back time. We went from a family of 4 at the dinner table to 3. Passing his empty room was so tough.” —Stacey Veneziano, Domestic Engineer, Freehold, NJ
“I was counting down the days for my second to go too. #emptynesting” —Ken Panassidi, Fashion Executive, Brooklyn, NY
“Seeing all the college kids so happy made me feel young again. Then I curiously observed a middle-aged man walking and I thought he looked out of place—until I realized I was looking at a reflection of myself from the windows of the science building.” —Frank LaRocca, Matrimonial Law Attorney, NJ
A scene from move-in day for college students in Boston.
“It was very emotional. My biggest concern was who was going to call me first, the Dean or the police!” —Howard Topal, CEO, NJ
“In 2008 I cried sending my first off to college. I saw this young man with a backpack around his shoulders looking excited and nervous and I couldn't help but think that was exactly me in 1979 when my parents dropped me off too.” —Michael Pasmowitz, Dentist, Howard Beach, NY
“As we prepare to drop our youngest daughter off I had somehow tricked myself into believing it was going to be easier this time. As a Mom, the challenge is real. Can I do this again? It is both exciting and heartbreaking.” —Dennette Tallis, Winter Green, FL
"There are so many great moments to cherish when you're a parent, yet there are none that compare to dropping your first kid off at college. It's a unique combination of enormous pride, excitement, and, at the same time, a sadness that it things will never quite be the same again." —Anthony DeVito, Pharmaceutical Commercial Training Leader, Bayside, NY
“I was proud of my son and excited for him, but mostly I was afraid that the real world would be so much less predictable than the world we had worked so hard to create for our children. I hoped that I had done my job as a parent well enough that my child would be able to negotiate his way through whatever life had in store for him. I was both happy and terrified at the same time.” —Jim Tierney, Brokerage Operations Specialist, Marlboro, NJ
“I’m a licensed therapist who works with young girls on life transitions including, of course, going away to college. But dropping off my own child for the first time was entirely different… When my first born left for college, letting go of that part of my life that gave me immense clarity, meaning, and purpose was brutal.” —Pamela Willsey, Therapist, Newton, MA
“All was well until it was time to say goodbye. My daughter and her youngest sister clung onto each other and burst into tears as though they were saying goodbye for the very last time. Their heartfelt emotions affected my entire family.” —Irene Keene, Realtor, Madison, CT
Students arrive for move-in day at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
"After we left, I sobbed while waiting for my husband to get the car. I sobbed in the car. And I sobbed on the way to the airport the next day. On the plane home, the flood gates opened… Becoming an empty nester is almost like grieving. It’s ok to cry. Just try not to do it around your kids. It will just make them feel bad. Do things for yourself that you put off when you were busy with your kids’ schooling and activities. Take time to reconnect with your spouse. I cleaned out cabinets and closets. My husband and I traveled more. And we realized that we weren’t fighting or arguing at all without the kids home….that was a huge bonus! And an eye opener!” —Debbie Goetz, President of Debbie Goetz Media Connections, Philadelphia, PA
“As a parent who is flying back tomorrow to drop off our 19-year-old son in Colorado to attend his Sophomore year, he will also be traveling overseas to spend a semester abroad in Europe. While my son has heard more travel safety tips and awareness ideas from me (a LAPD Detective) than he wants to know, I still feel very anxious with the increased in terrorist events abroad.” —Kevin Coffey, Detective, Calabasas, CA
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.