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Our Story Begins: Off To College.. My Kid Moves Out And We Move On


Our Story Begins:
Off To College.. My Kid Moves Out And We Move On

By all accounts, I should be an emotional mess today.  No one would blame me.  In fact, all day . . . the last several days, in fact, I’ve been surrounded by parents who are nothing but emotional.

The why is pretty simple: I drove 9 hours to drop my oldest daughter, Abbi, off at college. After the last two years the idea of yet another woman walking out of my life might easily have turned me into a wibbly, wobbly bowl of emotional jelly. I’m not, though. I am emotional, but it’s not tearing me into a thousand pieces.  It’s just not.

Let me give you an indication as to why.  About 3 1/2 years ago I lost my wife, Andrea.  That would have been enough to turn anyone into a blubbering mess – which I was. That was also a defining moment, though, in how the rest of our lives were to be lived.  Part of that outlook was to try things we didn’t do before and to look at the world as a story that has just begun.  Given that, this trip was an opportunity to do more than just take my daughter to college.  There were a lot of reasons to celebrate more than just to bemoan the decrease in our familial sum.

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The trip to the college was an opportunity for all of us to watch Abbi start another story, all her own, kind of like a spin-off of the original.  So on the way we stopped . . . like the picture up there in Redding, CA.  We stopped to see a bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava.  I got to give a lecture on architecture and the kids got to see a bridge that’s also a sundial.

Read More: Our Story Begins: My College-Bound Kid And The Lessons I Learned



My daughter up there is setting up her dorm room.  I saw parents all around me that were sad and depressed and . . . hovering.  I get it’s emotional and they have every right to act that way. But over coffee, Abbi told me I didn’t seem anywhere near as emotional or sad as other parents. “You’re more . . . meh!”  Before I could say anything she added, “It’s okay! I like that, I would rather you’re that way. It’s easier.”  Her new life and adjustment will already be hard.  I’ve told her I’ll miss her and I am sad…that’s enough.

Read More: Our Story Begins: A Birthday Breakthrough



If I act like Abbi is all that matters, they’ll think she’s all that matters. When Abbi had things to do for school we went off on our own. We screwed around. We climbed trees, we even did a Beatles-esque run around some statues at the capitol of the state. They are all obviously nervous and sad that their sister is leaving.  To have me just as nervous and sad will make it all harder.

Read More: Our Story Begins: Of Parenting And Problems.. What Makes You Worry?



I would be the epitome of hypocrite if I preached that and then broke down at every big event. I was proud of her at high-school graduation.  I’m even more proud of her as I drop her off at school.  Just walking on campus she began to look more and more like her mother…older in attitude than in age, yet I think she’s smarter and more experienced than any of us.

The story isn’t over, it’s another beginning.

Read more: Our Story Begins: A Birthday Breakthrough


College is a chance to start a whole new story – for her and for us.  The reality is we’ll talk with and see her all the time . . . whether she likes it or not.  She’s the age I was when I met her mother.  That used to scare me.  As I told someone recently, I’ve been through much worse than the typical events in life.  Seeing her meld into college so easily has me excited for her adventures.  (Just so she doesn’t give me too many details of what adventures she’s living.)  That, more than anything else, keeps me from being too sad or emotional.

What about you?  Do you break down at those major moments?  Do you make sure your kids know how excited you are for their changes?

More From GEM:

PLAY NICE! And 9 More Life Lessons From Disney

Monday Morning Motivation: If You Build It (WELL), They Will Come 

Do You Have GUNS In Your House? No, Really. I’m Asking.

 Dave Manoucheri framed headshot


Dave Manoucheri is a writer, journalist and musician based in Sacramento, California.  A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins is a chronicle of their life after the loss of his wife, Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.

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