back to school

Moving the oldest into Hamilton College. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

This is the time of year when kids go back to school and misty-eyed parents start reminiscing about their daughter’s first day of preschool when she starts kindergarten, about their son’s elementary school goofiness when he starts middle school, and about every childhood milestone when their kids start high school.Taking your kids to college just ups the ante.

My youngest daughter is about to leave for college and my Facebook feed is stuffed with sad posts, from parents facing an empty nest to those whose oldest is leaving home for the first time.

I have a few words of advice. Get over yourself.

back to school

Middle daughter moving into Brandeis. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Consider the alternative – your children living in the basement, smoking pot and cranking Wiz Khalifa 24/7. Did you really want your kids to stay with you forever? Is that why you bought a new quilt while you were shopping for dorm supplies at Bed, Bath & Beyond?

When your money-leeching – er, sweet adorable – teen finally leaves the house, this is when you can start taking vacations midweek, grabbing last-minute bargains for Caribbean cruises or European get-aways. You can shovel out the morass of soccer balls, tap shoes and poster boards from your child’s bedroom and advertise the space on AirBnB. Just think, instead of a long-term house guest who drinks from the milk carton and never replaces the toilet paper, you can host a stranger who will pay $150 a night to sleep in that now empty bedroom.

back to school

Moving into a college apartment. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Will we miss our daughter? Of course, but that’s what Skype and Snapchat are for. Plus, we will see her a scant four weeks later, at Family Weekend, an extravaganza that I think was cooked up by local tourist bureaus to get parents to stay in little towns or other cities for three or four nights and take their kids out to all the local restaurants.

We really did enjoy the back to school Family Weekends with our other daughters, exploring local farms, sampling craft brews and artisanal cheese, visiting nearby museums and hiking, biking, and driving through new areas. In fact, we have 2 other trips planned to visit our older daughters, who are moving to Northampton, MA and Madrid – so if anyone wants to rent a couple of rooms in New York City, give me a shout.