This goodbye has been in the making for a year or more now…  Just like when you are expecting and you start to nest, when your teen begins Senior year they are there to HELP you realize THEY NEED TO MOVE OUT!!!!  They make it easy to “Saying goodbye to College-Bound Teenager”  Below you will find my thoughts, feelings and how I and the #1 Traveling Companion dealt with the journey of a college bound teenager.

Our daughter F started the process last year of saying goodbye to us, or as one of my closest friends pointed out “See you later”.  As most high school seniors enter the hallways this week, they will start the process of narrowing down the selection of schools that they will apply to, in order to attend this time next year.  F had spoken with her close teachers and asked their advice along with discussing her options with us.  She had her ACT scores in hand, and began to crawl through the MASS of information on schools that would best suit her major and minor.  To make a long story short 6 months later she had been accepted into the following Universities:

  • University of Iowa
  • San Francisco State University
  • University of Kansas
  • Montana State University

We thought that she would accept the offer from Iowa, and yet after about a week I am not sure how but she told us she would be going to California!!!!  Did I mention that we live in Illinois????

There was some late night chit chat on the part of I and #1 Traveling Companion, but we finally came to the same conclusion: This is where she needed to be, to be HER!  As I said above, it is not and was not “Goodbye” but more like “See you later…..”  It did take some planning on our part.  Unlike most of our friends who were shipping their kids off to schools that were within a decent amount of drive time, ours was going 2,154 miles away; not exactly a quick road trip.  Trust me we did that last year!!!!  So what did we do you may ask….  We did the “Pack & Hold” at Bed Bath & Beyond, this is an awesome service…  For all of you that may need to do this next year, here is the quick information on this one….

  • You take a few hours out of your day with the said College-Bound Teenager
  • Go in to BBB and register with one of their associates
  • They will look up your university, and what you need and give you a list
  • They will give you a swipe gun and you go shop, just like you do for a wedding registry
  • They check that everything you have swiped is available in the store near your university
  • They give you a grand total
  • You have a heart attack
  • You also have the 20% OFF EVERYTHING COUPON!!!!  It comes out about a month prior to getting out of high school.  GET IT, KEEP IT!!!!!!
  • When you get to the university, you pop over to the BBB and pick up all of their STUFF!!!!!!!
  • You check to make sure everything is there, and then they ring it up, and you have another heart attack 🙂

F packed all of her personal belongings into three duffel bags about a week prior to us leaving for California, everything else we would pick up on that end either at BBB or at Target.  It was hard that week to walk by her room and not see her belongings on the walls, and stuff that had made up her room….  Oh another big thing was her little sister Bebe, would be moving into her room.  F has the bigger room and it seemed silly to leave it empty and not let Bebe have a bigger room, so we are doing a double whammy…..

Another good piece of advice I will depart with is to have a good long chat with a friend that has gone through this.  Ask them if your feelings are valid, what to expect and how did they handle it.  I was able to do this, and it did make things a lot easier to handle.  Speaking with my girlfriend and validating my feelings made me realize I could do this with joy.

#1 Traveling Companion drove F and I to the airport, and he said his “See you later…” to her there at curb side; he also did what he does best and captured the moment forever…  Not many words to add, that would enhance this moment.

SFSU San Francisco State University BritishMumUSA

I on the other hand had a little fun with a sleepy teenager on the plane, and then at the airport while we waited for her girlfriend and her mother to land; before heading to get the rental car.  (She is attending the same school)

SFSU San Francisco Airport BritishMumUSA

This whole time I have been enjoying the “Moment”, just being present and taking one minute at a time.  We landed on Wednesday August 19th, in the morning and took off running.  First stop was the hotel to drop the luggage, and then on to Target for all the school supplies.  Holy cow they “GO big or go home” here in San Francisco with regards to Target.  It was a two story Homage to Target, IT. Had. Everything!  Which in our case was AWESOME!!!!  School supplies, DONE!  Mini fridge, DONE! Lamp, DONE!  Bits and bobs, DONE!  I did not have the luxury of buying this stuff a little at a time over the course of a year and storing it away….  That said, we shopped well and got what she needed and nothing more, which NEVER happens when I go to Target.

SFSU Pier 39 The Wharf BritishMumUSA

From here we dropped everything back at the hotel and made our way to the Wharf.  Fiona and I had a hankering for Crab Cakes from Nick’s Lighthouse, they are sooo good!!!!!  We said hi to the very noisy sea lions, ate our crab cakes, and enjoyed the atmosphere of the Wharf.

SFSU Crab Cakes Pier 39 BritishMumUSA

Thursday came fast and furious, and there it was staring me in the face…  Move in day!!!  With a quick breakfast we loaded up the car with luggage and school supplies and drove the twenty minutes to SFSU, it was well organized as far as the move in went.  The gals from the Greek Houses were on hand to help grab a stray/wayward box and direct or help in any which way you asked of them.  We were SUPER lucky to be on the ground floor of the dorm, and NOT have to wait for an elevator 🙂  We parked at the dump at curb site, unloaded the car and girls.  F and I then drove the car to the main parking garage and I got my very FIRST look at her campus as we walked back to the dorms to load in what we had brought so far.

SFSU Move In Day BritishMumUSA

After a little discussion it was decided that the girls could unpack their clothes and school supplies while us mum’s went to BBB to pick up all the other STUFF!!!!  TRUST ME, on this one…  Let them unpack, hang up, organize and otherwise STUFF things away.  It is their home away from home now, they have to do that, so that they stay organized, or whatever you want to call it.

When I got back from BBB, I witnessed a MIRACLE!!!!!  F had done an amazing job of unpacking, organizing, reorganizing and figuring out what would and would not work for her over the next 9 months.  It was the best three hours I had ever spent away from her.  My OCD neat and organized freak self, had not got in the way of her figuring out what would best suit her.  It was BRILLIANT!!!!!!!  She did let me make the bed ONE LAST TIME!  I had asked in advance if I could do that 🙂

Move In Day SFSU BritishMumUSA

Moved In SFSU BritishMumUSA

Whoever your teens roommate is, don’t JUDGE!!! Let your teen figure it out for themselves.  Let your teen introduce you, and don’t do all of the talking.

Oh right in the middle of this F also introduced me to her Roomie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Meet Thea!!!!!!!  She is awesome too!!!!  I also met Thea’s mom Kathy and her little sister….  They were just as awesome.  

SFSU Move In Roommates

We continued to fuss and fluff up the room, by four o’clock we were pretty much done and ready for something to eat.  I am extremely lucky to have a friend back home who has a sister living ten minutes from campus, so we popped over to her house to grab her and go out to dinner.  Can I just say that the Ramen Noodle restaurants out on the west coast are just Fabulous!!!  We ended up eating at Genki Ramen, a little mom and pop Ramen neighborhood restaurants, and I stuffed myself 🙂  Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

It was a wonderful exclamation point to the end of the day.

Genki Ramen San Francisco

Friday was my day to hang and spend time with F, I got up early grabbed breakfast with her girlfriends mom and did a quick stop at Target for a few things we had forgotten.  There is always something so don’t fret.  Also Walmart ships for free when you spend over $35.00, and I am making friends with our postman.  F had enjoyed Thursday evening with a few pals she had met at orientation watching a movie outdoors that the school had put on.  She had her first night in the dorms and her first breakfast, she was good to go.  The campus was alive that morning with the hustle and bustle of introducing freshman to Greek life, clubs, and activities.  F took her time exploring and speaking with different groups and ended up joining several clubs and of course getting the name of the University Newspaper to whom she should submit pieces to.

That afternoon we all drove over to Haight and Ashbury Street, once there we split up and F and I enjoyed the ambiance of the street…  It really is an education wandering down this street, yes there is a homeless man who promotes taking a picture with his cat who is HIGH!  I didn’t do this, there are many boutiques that sell over prices things, many tobacco stores 😉 and cute little restaurants.  F and I found a Crepes Express, grabbed a seat and stuffed our faces with lemon/sugar crepes and coffee.  Of course we also found this The Booksmith ….  Check it out, the people that read the books get to write and leave a review under the books; so we can read them and then if we want buy the book.  What a neat idea, and it makes for a great time in the store.

SFSU Haight & Ashbury BritishMumUSA

I spent the evening watching a movie with F and at 10:30 pm I said my “See ya later to her….”  I had been in the moment all this time, and then I felt the moment….  I won’t bore you with the word for word I bawled out, but needless to say I told her in her dorm room that I was so very proud of her, wished her the best, told her to keep her eye on the prize, to make memories, enjoy herself, and to study hard….  There were a few tears, and a big, strong hug 😉

SFSU Saying Goodbye

I left her that night standing in the door way of her entrance to her dorms, waved goodbye and went back to my hotel.  A few hours later a bawling, sniveling wreck of a mum was allowed to board a plane bound for Chicago.  I called one of my very good friends on the East coast who was up at that ungodly hour, and sobbed….  She sat quietly and just let me be…

It’s O.K. to be sad, it really is…  That first day was hard, the next was a little easier and two weeks later I am all good with it.  She is on a journey, and for the past 18 years we have been on a journey getting her ready to take flight.  We have given her amazing roots, and now it is awesome to see her spread her wings.

I am enjoying getting texts from her telling me what she has been up to.  I am having fun packing up care packages and shipping them off.

I have a teen in college, and I am O.K. with that, and so will all you future moms….

BritishMumUSA Signatures