Some of you have entered a new season of life with a child off to college. We had our oldest attend Western Washington University in Bellingham and then our younger go out of state to University of Colorado. Both had great college experiences with a few growing pains along the way. We visited them at school a few times a year. I typically visited more often on my own than with my spouse due to his work schedule. Now that they have both graduated, I’d like to share some of the highlights I gleaned through the years.
Scheduling my visits
- I always tried to arrange visits around their schedules. We engaged in parents’ weekends the first year and then scheduled for alternate times in the future due to all the popular restaurants and local hotels being booked.
- My comfort level was typically a good visit every six weeks. Sometimes I’d visit them; sometimes they’d come home.
- I kept my out-of-state visits to 3 days and anticipated for a few hours of his time each day. If there was more, that was a bonus. I was content to read, go to a museum, or bike the area solo while he headed back to his campus life.
Bring a touch of home
- I would bring a favorite or two from home, be it some freshly baked cookies, Confectionery Store (at University Village) gummy bears, or some new athletic socks and boxers. I’ve made lasagnas in Pyrex pans that would never return from Bellingham. I’ve brought Juanita’s Chips as my carry-on because evidently the corn chips are just not as good in Colorado.
- I’d make notes on my phone about the latest news in the neighborhood and in the family, and I’d catch him up.