(We asked our parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba to weigh in too. You'll find her tips here.)
One of the things that bothered me the most when my son left for college was that his room looked so.....empty....so unlived in. As my daughter prepares to leave in two weeks, she has commented that she wants to leave her room looking like her room, so that when she comes home she won't feel like she's staying in someone else's space. I like that, and I'm glad she feels that way. This way when I walk by her room, it'll still have pictures out of her and her friends, posters on the wall, pillows on the bed, etc. I know that it will reassure me that she isn't gone forever, she's just away and will be home now and then.
What will I miss the most? I don't know ... seeing their faces every day ... knowing they're safe at home at night ... hearing about their lives on a regular basis...
I've bid 3 of my 4 goodbye in the past 3 years, though not through sending them off to college -- I send mine off to the US military. All I can say about how to cope: I never wash their pillowcase after they go. Then I always have something that smells like them, even when they're far, far away. When one of my DSs spent time in Iraq last year, he was able to come home for a week before he had to leave -- and the first thing I did after he and his wife left the room they shared while they were here was nab the pillowcase that smelled like him! LOL
Well mine have all finished college now, but when the last one -- our son -- left, he got us a dog. Not crazy about it at first but once he was gone I totally understood why he did it. He