Tracey Mendrek, Executive Vice President

It is the third week in August and a right of passage begins this week as the age-old tradition of taking the first (second, third, last) child off to college begins. Interestingly, this year a well-read journalist joins the list of those being left behind by his kids this summer. John Kass of the Chicago Tribune shared the Trip to becoming empty-nesters went too fast in his column August 8.

His tweet late last night reminded his followers again that today the journey begins in earnest. “John Kass ‏‪@John_Kass‬ ‬‬‬9h:The car is packed. Boys asleep. On Monday, everything changes. Wonder what a quiet house will really sound like?”

It has picked up steam on Twitter and everyone is giving him advice, from bringing tissues to dealing with the aftermath. Mika Brzezinski shared a comical video of her experience on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today. Her experience highlighted saying goodbye to the dog, loading the truck and the inevitable overpacking that comes with moving a girl.

And so, the conversation about kids leaving for school takes center stage at the water cooler. Will they be ok on their own? Do they have everything they need? Will they join the right sorority/fraternity or group?

As a parent who this year marks the first time in five years that journey didn’t happen – life will go on. After an amazing experience at Auburn University and a hard-earned degree in architecture the little girl who left five summers ago is now gainfully employed and navigated the road to graduation quite well.

So to all you first-timers, try to remember that they will return again and with that return all the noise and chaos will be back. And most importantly, the lessons you taught them over the last eighteen years will serve them well. As you say goodbye, tell them to have an amazing time at college. Live every moment, capture every memory and don’t forget who helped you along the way.