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Challenge: Back to School 2020

Lesson Learned From Moving My Daughter into Her Freshman Dorm: Family Never Goes Out of Style

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You know how all the paint companies each year feature a color of the year? Well…who knew the same was true for college room decor. It seems that the girls’ college room decor winning color combo this Fall is…drum roll please…grey, dusty rose and white. That’s right! Scroll through (almost) every Mom of a freshman college girl’s Facebook feed and WHOOP, there it is!

When I first started seeing college move in posts I would mention to my daughter Brooke…”Hey Brooke, Betty Lou has your color combo.” She’d reply, “Mom, every girl has that combo.” Wow, really? Just when I thought individuality was “in.” What do I know…

It’s what’s in. Just like most homes today have grey walls and white kitchens. I love the look. It’s a clean and refreshing look. Honestly, my kitchen would be white too but when we built our home 16 years ago, the Tuscan style was really in. I do not want to live through a dusty remodel. My friends kindly tell me “I still love your kitchen. Don’t change it.” I’m feeling old. 16 years is a long time to have the same kitchen and rationalize that it’s still “in.” Could it really still be on trend and timeless or am blind to it? Just like back in the day when people covered their living room furniture with plastic covers and thought that that looked ok…

Obviously, I would love to update a few aspects of it. It would be very easy to do so since this is what my husband masterfully does for a living BUT I go back to not wanting to live through the construction mess and also our kitchen is part of our story. THIS very kitchen has been the heart of our home where we have shared countless meals, after school snack and chat sessions, entertained friends and family, worked on schoolwork, counseled, Vitamixed, and danced! Does any of that ever go out of style?

Memories are forever embedded in our minds and hearts. I still love picturing Brooke doing her turns in the middle of the kitchen driving my son Shane crazy as he tried to focus on his homework…my older daughter Blake eagerly charging through the door after school each day excited to sit at our kitchen island to fill me in on all the nitty gritty about her day. THAT was the magic. Shane could’ve done his homework in his bedroom or our home office. Blake could’ve locked herself up in her room and confided all her secrets to her girlfriends instead of me. Brooke could have danced elsewhere in the house but they all gravitated towards the kitchen. The center. I was never bothered by all the commotion. It gave our home life.

Now Brooke is spending her first night away, away from home, in her grey, dusty rose and white decorated dorm room at the University of Michigan. Shane is back in East Lansing at Michigan State living with his fraternity buddies ready to start his Senior year. Blake is living and loving life in Chicago. I am so happy that they all have created these amazing opportunities for themselves. I am also happy that home will always be home. My nest may be physically empty but in my mind it is still full. Full of memories…full of endless hours of patience, love and tears poured into each child…full of pride…full of Marshall’s bags…full of self help books to inspire me through all the challenges of parenting…


Yesterday was a special day for our family that I will never ever forget. Yes, we were dropping the baby of our family off to college and that is a true milestone. What I am most proud and grateful for was that her siblings wanted to be there to see her off too. They both inconvenienced themselves to be there for Brooke. They both went and had COVID tests before coming back home to see her off. The day was long, as a college move in during COVID is a little less than ideal but they never complained how long and hot a day it really was.

When we said our final good byes to Brooke and left her alone in her dorm room, Shane looked at us and said “Wow, this is weird. She doesn’t seem old enough to be there.” I said “Welcome to our world.” As parents we know that age 18 rolls around pretty quickly. Raising mature, confident and kind children takes a lot of work. I have no doubt Brooke will soar in college. I also have no doubt we will remain a close and loving family no matter where we live.

Home is the family unit and the bonds that we carry. Not the house we live in. Not the out of style kitchen. Those physical spaces temporarily house the people. Our hearts hold the key to the magic of us.

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