- Put the Uber app on Binky’s phone, linked to your credit card. Look Binky in the eye and say, “Binky, if you ever feel unsafe with your friends, or you need an emergency ride home, use Uber. No questions asked.” Of course, if Binky starts using Uber at 3 am every morning, you might want to have a different conversation.
- If Binky is going to be cooking, teach him/her some basic recipes, including the shopping and clean up. The ramen I ate in 1987 is still in my system. Binky deserves better.
- Work out a budget. Whether they have school room and board or not, they need a little cash. Are you going to provide, or will Binky get a job? Figure that out and help Binky plan.
- Give Binky an emergency credit card to be used only for emergencies. Also, when Binky calls home crying, you can say, “Order a pizza on the card.” That helps.
- If you haven’t already, teach Binky to do laundry. Nothing less attractive than an 18-year-old in soured duds.
- Everywhere you go with Binky during this last month, think about how it’s the last time you’ll ever do this together. Cry.
- If you are fortunate enough to have a badly-behaved teen, the parting will be mostly sweet, not sorrow. If your teen has been marginally well-behaved, the parting will be sorrow. This would be a most convenient time for Binky to have a little run-in with the po-po, or at least a phone call that starts with, “Is this the parent of Binky Shao?” because I’ve heard that badly-behaved teens are easier to let go of. Mine remain sweet and charming. Dang it.
- Plan something nice for when you return home to the empty house. Weekend with spouse? Afternoon at the shooting range? Whatever floats your boat. Just make sure it gets you out of the house. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT binge-watch Law and Order: SVU. There’s a dead college kid in every other episode.
- Feel your feelings, but don’t make it worse than it is. You knew this was coming.
- In practice for letting go, ease up on house rules and curfews. Try to treat Binky as an adult.
It’s not easy, because you still think Binky looks like this:
Binky actually looks like this: