We just packed up the car and moved our son into his college dorm room.


It went better than any of us probably expected. (Translation–I did not weep, wail, or cause a scene at any point, traumatized by my sweet little baby moving out of my daily life and home).

Is our house way too quiet now with only the three of us? YES.

Do we miss him? Hell to the YES.

Is he exactly where he wants to be, surrounded by ‘his people’, and in the exact right place for him to grow and learn? YES.

One of the things I noticed throughout parent orientation (the way Whitman College weans us away from our children–very gently and kindly) was that I had lots of very helpful advice I still wanted to (needed to!) give him before I left. While he may not have noticed my restraint, so much of my advice to him remained unspoken.

I recognized that if I hadn’t already reminded him to separate the lights from the darks and not to overfill the washer, he’d figure it out. I recognized the talk we’d already had about budgeting was hopefully sufficient. I recognized he was a smart kid and would certainly know to go to class, take advantage of college community, be kind, be helpful, etc, without me telling him.

So I let the advice go un-offered. (I also trust he does not read this blog, so I’m not trying to sneakily tell him to wash his sheets at least once this semester for the love of all that’s holy!)

He’s a smart kid–one of the smartest people I know. He’ll figure it out. If I figured it out–he’ll be fine.

He’s in a great place. Justin and I were both very impressed with Whitman and it is clear Alden found his tribe.

Why, one might ask (and I’m sure he does), would I even feel the need to give such a smart, competent, and good kid all of this advice?

senior picture by Thomas Reece

senior picture by Thomas Reece

I think it is because somewhere in my head, even though I know he’s 6 foot 3 and all growed up, I still see him like this:

six months old

six months old


Or maybe like this:

soccer player, age 3

soccer player, age 3

Perhaps this Subaru commercial sums it up the best:

Thankful for a kid who puts up with me when I maybe possibly forget he is no longer 3 years old. Trusting he will ask for the actual advice he does need, whether from us or from one of the other many great people in his life.

Have a great time in college, kid. We know you’ve got this. Looking forward to hearing all about the adventures!

8 thoughts on “Advice

    • You know that feeling you get when you are with the right people? I had it in college. I’ve always searched for it in the churches I’ve joined. It isn’t people who agree with you. But it is a sense that you have landed at the right place with the people who will help you live into yourself.
      Words fail me to describe it–anyone else have a better way to say it?


  1. Well, I am telling myself the same things Marci: At least I didn’t get weepy when we dropped Hannah off at UNM. However, it is somewhat sad. I didn’t resist the urge to do one last ‘data dump’ on her, and then another (Eat healthy! DON’T drink punch at a party,ever!!! Go see the drama department! Make a point to invite one of the Muslim women students to lunch!. Go try Emmanuel Presbyterian church! ….)’There is so much I haven’t taught her yet!!!!!’

    One thing though: being on a college campus sure makes you envious about the fascinating people our kids will meet, the enthralling discussion in the classroom and at 10:00 at night, the concerts, art exhibits, the opportunities for cross-cultural relationships, and having someone else cook every meal…..

    Emma is in Costa Rica with AFS this year, so we are really ’empty nesters’ right now…


    • Isn’t it funny? We had 18 years to impart our wisdom, but it didn’t occur to me to share it with him until I had only minutes left?
      Justin and I were both ready to go back to college after taking him there. I’m so grateful for the friends I made at Trinity–all these years later they remain so important in my life. Excited for Alden to have that kind of experience.
      And my heart skipped a beat at the words ’empty nesters’. Glad I still have 3 more years with Elliott. Will both girls being out of the house decrease your green chile consumption?


  2. Pingback: Always Come Back Home | Glass Overflowing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s