How to Send Your Son Off to College

How to Send Your Son Off to College


Illustration by Barry Falls

Illustration by Barry Falls

1. Realize it is well past time to go shopping. Sit down with him and make a list, vowing to keep it simple. Remember that when you yourself started college, your belongings fit neatly in a station wagon. You lived without a Brita water filtration system and a flat screen TV and a mini-fridge. He can too.

2. Take your compact and sensible list to Bed Bath and Beyond — along with the two-inch-high stack of 20 percent off coupons you have been saving since he started high school. Make your way to the College Registry department, where the very helpful staff will print out a suggested shopping list, complete with his school’s logo. Notice that this list is quite a bit longer than your own. Notice that they hand HIM, not you, the wand that reads bar codes, instructing him to simply press the green button at anything he wants to buy.

Wonder if this is how your husband felt when the saleswoman handed you the registry list in the Fortunoff’s china department 20 years ago. Make mental note to apologize to your husband. And to use your good china more often. Understand, as you didn’t back then, that this ritual is about accumulating stuff, sure, but also about furnishing a new chapter.

March around the store waving the wand at high-thread-count-extra-long-sheets, laundry hampers, desk lamps, pillows, comforters, a shower caddy, under-bed-storage-bins — and a Brita water filter. READ MORE