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Diane Hyzy: Son’s relocation is a bittersweet event

“Mom, I’ve been offered a dream job in Pittsburgh!” Are there any sweeter words to hear from your recent college graduate son? First comes pride, then uncertainty, then an overwhelming feeling of what do we do now? You watch your child progress through four years of college, knowing that the inevitable is on the horizon. As much as you know this time is coming, and wish for it, it is still overwhelming.

Moving a child permanently out of the nest is quite different than moving a child out for bits of time in college. When our sons went away to school, there was always a feeling of knowing that they would periodically come home. The sheets on the beds in their untouched bedrooms would be clean and their favorite cookie bars would be warm on the kitchen counter. The house would be full for the holidays, and summer vacations would feel no different than high school.

Fresh from the experience of helping my youngest on his journey from his hometown to his new home, I have some helpful tips.

First, do your homework. While my son began training in another state, I started by going online to research his new city. I requested a visitors’ guide, complete with a map of the city and other interesting tidbits. This not only helped him narrow his apartment search, but assisted us in navigating the landscape when we actually moved him.

Your next task will be to make a detailed list and begin shopping. Let’s be clear. A mother’s list and a son’s list are quite different. He will be shopping for a big-screen television while you are shopping for shower curtains and Tupperware. From electronics to the everyday must-haves, you can put together an entire apartment with a few well-planned shopping trips.

Let the packing commence! Color-coded Post-it notes, a Sharpie marker and industrial-strength adhesive tape are the tricks of the trade to ensure a systematic plan.

Up next, organizing the transition. Once the date has been determined, it is time to find a mover. Be very clear to the moving company about exactly what you will be moving. We were shocked when the movers showed up with a small truck on moving day. They proved us wrong by packing everything in the vehicle with mere inches to spare.

One last stop for coffee and we were all on our way.

As you head down the Thruway, your smartphone maps app will become your new best friend. Entering a brand-new city for the first time is intense. Thank goodness for our faithful friend, GPS, who told us when to turn right in 200 feet. As a mother, I felt honored to be experiencing this memorable time with my son.

There are a few key places that you should locate in your child’s new home city: bank, coffee shop and, most importantly, an IKEA store. After one week, I’m quite sure that I earned a degree in IKEA furniture assembly. The tools are simple: Phillips head and standard screwdrivers and a determined attitude.

Next, it is crucial that you locate a grocery superstore to stock up your child. From a freezer full of frozen pizzas to a pallet of cereal, I left my son knowing that he would be set for the next month or two. Cupboards are full, rooms are organized and there’s just one more thing to do.

Relax, be proud and trust in your child. This is the moment you have raised him for.