In my last post I told you how much I missed my kids. Nothing’s changed, but I wanted to share a few tips with you so that you wouldn’t have to experience 1,500 miles of distance between you and your children like I have to.
First of all, I always told my kids that they could go anywhere. I told them not to limit their college selections based on close proximity to home but rather to use that time to go out and see the world.
What was I thinking?
When Stephen was a senior in high school we took him to Los Angeles and it was during that trip that he decided he wanted to live on the beach and go to college at UCLA. Courtney’s junior year we took a trip to New York and that’s all it took to convince her that she was destined to attend New York University. What were we thinking?
The summer of 2006 was horrible. Courtney graduated from high school and was headed to NYU and Stephen, after 2 years at the University of Oklahoma, had been accepted at UCLA. In August, we rented a U-Haul and drove Stephen’s belongings to California, then boarded a plane to New York to get Courtney situated in the Big Apple.
In a one week time frame, my kids were bi-coastal.
I cried the ugly cry all the way home from New York. Then I spent several months drowning my sorrows with double stuffed Oreos.
It was awful. I gained 30 pounds and slept with my cell phone in case they called.
I thought that raising my kids to think for themselves was the right thing to do. I figured that the worst that could happen would be that they would vote for a Democrat. Boy was I wrong.
Now Stephen is working and living in Houston, and in a few months he will be transferring to Denver. Courtney has decided that pursuing a career in screenwriting will mean that she will move to Canada after she graduates.
If you don’t want to end up like me, with an empty nest, here are my suggestions:
1. Never take your kids to vacation spots that are also college towns.
2. Aside from the geography that they study in 8th grade, don’t tell them that life exists outside a 50 mile radius.
3. When they question the existence of cities like New York City or Los Angeles, LIE. Tell them those aren’t real places, just Hollywood fantasy.
4. Most importantly, lay on the guilt. Tell them how sad you will be if they move away. And,
5. If all else fails, bribe them. Or lock them in their rooms, whichever comes easier.
I am proud of my kids. I live my life vicariously through them. Stephen spends every third or fourth weekend in Mexico or Italy vacationing. Courtney is being mentored by the best writers and moguls in the media world. Stephen makes more money than his dad does and Courtney is becoming a very sought-after entertainment graphic designer.
I don’t know whether to be jealous of them or excited that when they put us out to pasture, they’ll be able to afford designer Mu Mu’s for me and a room with a view for their dad.