9. Be ready to back off and leave — even if it is earlier than you planned — if your child gives you the signals he doesn't want you there anymore. (Remember middle school?)
Sure, we deserve better (at least a heartfelt "thanks, Mom and Dad") after helping them navigate the college-application process, calming their I'll-never-get-accepted-anywhere jitters, helping them survive the rejections and celebrate the acceptances, and, of course, figuring out how to foot the ginormous bill for their higher education.
But on their first day at college they're far too busy trying to get a foot in their new world to think about how you're feeling. Get over it!
We got that heartfelt "thank you" at graduation, as well as lots of hugs.
So did all the other parents, including the parents of Mel's freshman roommate. Did I mention Mel and her roommate Hollis became best friends? How were they going to manage without each other now, their close friends kept asking — just as we'd wondered how we'd manage without them when they headed off as freshman.
You will, we promised them.
This time, Mel was the one who wiped away tears. I had the tissues handy.
(Send Eileen your comments and questions at http://www.takingthekids.com. Follow @takingthekids and Facebook, where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments.)