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Fare thee well, from one 'teen' to another

How thoroughly bizarre, dropping your kid off at college for the first time when you are only 18 yourself.

Actually, I was 18 a few/many years ago. Rampant immaturity has its advantages, but oh how it messes with your sense of time.

It's obviously an emotional time for any parent, who tend to spend more time looking back than looking ahead. For the kid, it is all about the anticipation. (That said, a pro tip: Expect your kid to be surly the week leading up. He/she is just tense; let it go.)

"It's almost like she wants us to leave," my wife said after we lugged her dorm stuff up three flights of stairs.

"Um, that's because ... she does?"

That is a good thing.

Skidmore is less than an hour from our house -- although I warned the kid to pretend she is going to school in Ohio. I won't mind driving up to see her field hockey games; just don't expect us to make a run because she ran out of laundry detergent. Oh, can't wait to see you home ... for Thanksgiving.

No, the hardest part is not the separation. It's the realization that while there will still be teachable moments and tethers to her parents, she is on her own. Her decisions, good, bad and in between, are now entirely hers (with some exceptions).

In the past we struggled as parents to retain control. Now the struggle comes from giving it up. For that reason The Grateful Dead's "Cassidy" stuck in my head the whole drive back down the Northway:

"Fare thee well now.
Let your life proceed by its own design.
Nothing to tell now.
Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine. ..."

Fare thee well, from one 18-year-old to another.

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