This was it. It was actually happening. After living through AP exams, SATS, extra-curriculars, stress headaches over applications, the hunt for scholarships and savings plans, it was here. All the years of planning, praying, and hard work had steadily sped to this one moment.
She was ready.
We were ready. I think? Yes, we were ready!
And now, it was time.
Time to say Sayonara, Ciao Baby, good-bye. The boxes were unpacked. The Suitemates introduced. Bed was made. Computer set up. The New Sooner Welcome tent on Walker/Adams Mall was visited and the free stuff gleefully gathered. Now she was anxious to meet up with friends and start enjoying the events of Sooner Orientation Weekend (SOW). That meant for her parents, gulp, it was time to go home. Without her.
As we shut the door to my daughter’s dorm room and walked through the box cluttered hallway, a memory swept over me accompanied by a feeling of deja vu. Just a few years earlier, a little pixie haired girl with a giant backpack had waved cheerfully to me as she walked into kindergarten. I remember standing there wrestling with the feeling of having to let go.
As new college parents, we were once again letting go and momentarily terrified at the prospect. What had we been thinking? Where would she get dinner? Or breakfast? Would she make friends? Find her classes? How would she get her books? Find her way around? What if she needed cold medicine? Fears and anxieties ran wild in that moment only to be calmed by another memory. It was from 20+ years ago of an another college kid (you guessed it, me) nervously dragging suitcases up the three flights of stairs of Neill House in the Cate dorms, who’d not only survived but successfully thrived and completely loved life at OU.
There’s something surreal in that moment you wave good-bye to your college freshman and go home without them in tow. Wherever the parting takes place, be it your child’s dorm room or the shuttle stop for the return ride to Lloyd Noble, if you’re a first time college parent like I am, it’s a bittersweet moment. Tears were in check until we drove down Boyd Street past the Greek House restaurant. One glance and I was done for. On a side note, when you visit your newly minted college kid, take them to the Greek House, it’s an OU icon on the edge of Campus Corner that serves the best gyros in town. On game days, the line wraps around the block so get there early. It’s Cash Only. And Definitely worth the wait!
So, it was time. Time for her to step into the lead role and embrace her college experience with gusto and we, her parents, were stepping back into the role of supporting cast. Time for her to grow and experience college life as a Sooner on her own.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cutting the apron strings at all once. Just a few of them. And being an OU Alum, I’m somewhat familiar with the way things work despite all the amazing changes the University has undergone over the years. BTW, the person who came up with the new Move-In procedure deserves a raise. A BIG one. Or at least OU Football tickets on the 50-yard line. Just saying, because it was fantastic! Kudos to you! And thanks to a very handy and well-organized OU Parent Handbook ( given to you at your students enrollment appointment), the OU Parent and Family Guidebook and the Family Resources webpage, I’m prepared and ready to assist my freshman should the need arise. And believe me, it’s already risen!
So I invite you, new and old and future Sooner Parents, to join me in this new journey as I embrace life as a New Sooner Parent. Together, they (and we) will not only survive, we’ll thrive!