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I Just Dropped My Daughter Off At College

August 19, 2021
(image via wikimedia)

My daughter switched radio stations as soon as she realized the song was “Manic Monday” by The Bangles.

“Ugh,” she said. “They rhymed ‘Sunday’ with ‘fun day’ and ‘run day’.”

We were driving to the university that my daughter is attending, and my daughter was in a hyper-critical mood. I had no problem with that. Even back in the 1980s, I disliked “Manic Monday.” Yeah, supposedly Prince wrote the lyrics, but he probably knew the lyrics sucked, so he gave them to some desperate singer. Everybody loved Prince so much that his fans thought his garbage was great. If you said anything by Prince sucked, people told you to shut up. At least, they told me to shut up.

I never said Prince sucked: I said some of his songs sucked.

Anyway, my daughter can get hyper-critical about pop culture stuff too, even when I’m not around. I’m proud of that.

My daughter has a lot of my personality. I think my personality works better for a female than a male. I’m not saying I want to be female. I’m just saying that my personality seems to work better for a female. My daughter has more friends than I’ve ever had. She’s more outgoing. She says the same kind of stuff that I do/did, but when she says stuff, people respond more favorably.


Last year I wrote a blog post about my daughter declaring that she might not go to college. Her indecision didn’t last long. She knew a few weeks later which university she wanted to attend and what she wanted to major in.

College isn’t for everybody, but it might be good for her. My daughter knows what she wants to do. The university she’s attending has a great program (the best, according to the university, if you can trust it) for what she wants to do. My daughter has already demonstrated a talent for what she wants to do. As negative as I can be about the university system (if it’s not a scam, it is at least scam adjacent), attending is probably the correct decision for her, based on what we know right now.

My daughter’s dorm room was just as tiny and muggy as I remembered mine decades ago. I recalled why some students panic in college; not everybody is designed to live like a lab rat. I was able to find quiet places and times (I was willing to get up earlier than most students), so I could fake some semblance of a quiet life.

My daughter’s college town was cool, but my wife and I have aged out of cool, so we just followed our daughter around and paid for stuff.

My wife told my daughter that we could visit her every few weeks, but that might not be a good idea, even though the university is less than three hours away. My wife would be a hardcore mom if I let her. A hardcore mom is like a helicopter mom but knows better. When I suggest to my wife that she should back off a little bit, she does without arguing about it but begins meddling again when I’m not around.

I understand why my wife is a hardcore mom. She didn’t have a lot of support growing up and had to take care of all her college details herself. Because of that, she missed out on some opportunities, and my wife doesn’t want my daughter to miss out. I get it. But still, my daughter is 18 and has to take care of most of the details herself now. We can help, but she has to do it herself.

Hugging my daughter goodbye in her dorm room was a little rough. She’ll probably be a different person the next time I see her, and I won’t have witnessed the changes taking place. I felt a wave of sadness when I walked into my daughter’s empty bedroom after we had returned home.

My wife, the hardcore mom, was more practical.

“Tomorrow,” she said, “I’m turning this into my office.”

  1. Loved this. I am that hardcore mum. Outwardly. But when the kids are ill or something happens – it’s my husband who is most emotionally affected. Weird how that works out. The home office idea sounds cool – I have also never heard Manic Monday so off to play that tune now. Wishing your daughter the very very best of luck in this massive new venture!

    • “I am that hardcore mum. Outwardly. But when the kids are ill or something happens – it’s my husband who is most emotionally affected.”-

      That dynamic sounds very similar to that of my own family.

  2. Loved this post. Congrats to you and your wife for navigating this parenting milestone with grace. All the best to your daughter. It’s great she has such supportive parents!

    ‘Manic Monday’ is pretty lame, but it’s managed to endure as a radio staple and as a part of pop culture. So I give it *some* credit. Just a little, though!

    • There’s a part of me that thinks Prince didn’t even write it, that the music labels (or somebody) just said Prince wrote it so that people would automatically think it was good.

      Maybe he wrote the first couple lines. Maybe.

  3. Congrats! That’s a big step. Empty nesters now?

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