I know this is a difficult time for parents, watching their babies fly off to college, leaving the home nest empty. It's hard for those of us leaving too. But we have good reasons for leaving home. Here are some things I want my parents -- and all parents -- to know that we need:
A fresh start.
Please let me forget my unhealthy obsession with iCarly. PLEASE! IT WAS JUST A PHASE! Some things are better left in the past, but that doesn't include you, parents. It does include our neighborhood, our dog that hates me, and my past embarrassments (the real ones, not just the ones I'm comfortable sharing on HuffPost). I want to leave my past at home and become a new version of myself, one that's truer to the person I hope to someday become. I want to make new friends, live in a new place, and listen to new, diverse perspectives. There is so much out there to explore and I don't want childhood baggage slowing me down.
To have more control.
I want to decide if I should or should not binge watch House of Cards tonight. I want to decide whether I should buy a vintage batman figurine. And I want to figure out for myself whether I should really hang a crucifix on my wall -- all without you being able to use the "you live under my roof" argument to influence my choices. That's not to say that I'm going to always make the best, or right, decisions, but at least I'll feel like I'm holding the reins to my life. I want to feel free. I hope you don't take that the wrong way.
To mess up.
Yes, you've warned me that all my newfound freedom will lead to mistakes. I'm counting on it. I need to wake up two hours late for my lecture, iron my shirt wrong and forget where I left my wallet. Why? Because hearing you tell me to do things right won't make me listen. Only after messing up will I learn to improve myself, and I can't suffer any consequences if you're always making sure I don't make mistakes.
To survive without you.
As heartbreaking as this may be, you aren't always going to be able to care for me. College is where I'm going to see what it's like to be independent. I'll have to pick myself up when I'm sad and guide myself through an intimidatingly new environment. And I'll still call you every so often for a little help, but I'll rely mostly on myself and the friends I choose to surround myself with. If I don't figure out how to fend for myself out in the real world, I won't ever be ready to make my life separate from yours.
I need to miss you, and I need you to miss me.
I love you, but our relationship needs to evolve. I feel grown-up and you see me as a baby. Truth is, I'm still somewhere in between. After I leave and use everything you taught me to succeed, I'll appreciate you more and more. I'll remember your lectures, anecdotes, and your love in my toughest times, and I'll miss you unlike anyone else. You'll miss me, but you will also see that I can survive on my own and respect me for it. I hope you'll be proud. So let's start missing each other now -- we have so much more learning and growing to do apart, but together.