It’s time for the great college send-off

August 5, 2018

This is your day. Now that it is August, you're counting down the hours. Forget about the traffic and tourists leaving, that ship has sailed. The excitement has been mounting for weeks. Carefully, you are packing. Slowly, you are folding the clothes so they don't wrinkle. You stayed awake all night just for this moment. You're not going on a trip, but someone else is heading out. This is about that breath of fresh air only experienced when you finally drop off that child you've nurtured and cared for through the years – to college!

OK, I got that philosophical blip off the front of a brochure on raising sheep, but I think it sounds great when talking to other people at social events, not that you've been to any lately, since you are working three jobs to pay for the upcoming tuition.

The socks go on one side, T-shirts on the other, and it's nice to hum a little tune while you are doing this packing. If it's a teenage boy you are delivering to college, remember you actually haven't seen him the last two years of high school, so make sure he shows some identification before you make that long drive. Oh, you know he lives in the house by the heavy metal music of Ten Thousand Maniacs blasting from his room, which has a door that apparently is nailed shut. There is no longer any wallboard or paint on the hallway outside his room, but the good news is that you were lucky enough to get an appointment at the Mayo Clinic for a possible cochlear implant to restore your hearing.

Now, if you are dropping off a teenage girl to college, it's an entirely different setup. You will need at the very least a U-Haul truck. Make sure that you get one big enough to house something the size of a nuclear reactor.

She has a lot of stuff that she cannot part with, most of which will be tossed out after the first week when she discovers that her dormitory is coed and minimalism is what boys respect. You won't have to go to this expense with a boy, though, since most of his décor will be furniture made out of beer cans and cardboard pizza boxes.

But believe me, you will have a spring in your step you haven't experienced since Dewey beat Truman. Normally it takes quite a while to get your body going in the morning. That can of STP oil will flow into your artificial replacement parts smoothly.

The Tums stocked next to your bedside table will be greatly reduced, since you no longer have to keep the porch light on anymore for your children to find their home after a night at something called a rave concert.

I doubt if the Pachysandra will grow back on the front lawn, but you may be able to turn those indentations from their parked cars into planters. And best of all, you may dispose of any medications like Preparation H, Metamucil, Miralax and other medications that have a picture of an intestine or stomach on the box.

So, this is a new day, medically and financially. With a little bit of luck, you will be able to replace those shoes you've been wearing, you know, the ones with the cardboard cutouts on the bottom to fill the holes and held on by duct tape. Dare I say it, a new pair is in order.

Now before you head out on that trip, be sure you have all the documents and schedules you need once you arrive at that ivy-covered institution shown on the brochures, most of the ivy having died out long ago from sheer disgust.

Colleges usually have all kinds of orientations, meetings and receptions for all the new attendees, but you will be attending alone, since no college kid wants to be seen with his parents.

Many of them leave the space blank when filling out any material that requires names of parents. Oh, they will attend the important, mandatory introduction events, like the all-you-can-eat fraternity party keg and Cheeto reception.

So, fill up that car with gas, program the GPS and be prepared to pretend to hit the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Amen to that.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.