It's a common refrain when giving people directions to our bed and breakfast. It's FSU Orientation season in Tallahassee. That means that parents from all over the place are coming to Tallahassee to spend a day or two walking all over the FSU campus, in the July inferno that is Tallahassee. With them is their student who will soon be departing the nest when term starts in late August.
There will be tears. Exhaustion. Frustration. Stress. Tears of sadness at the impending departure of a child, mingled with tears of joy that they are about to embark on their journey of adulthood. Mixed feelings between "we must have done something right, to get this kid to this point" to "what am I going to do without this kid?"
It may be physically exhausting. Trekking around the FSU campus and Tallahassee in general, trying to get the lay of the land. Wondering where this child will live, eat, play, work, worship. And it may be 100 degrees on the heat index.
All very stressful. And yet. We've had so many FSU parents meet other parents in our breakfast room. They've swapped tips on the best dorms, the best cafeteria/food plan, and maybe how this is is their second orientation having an older child leave home a couple years ago, and how "it all worked out just fine".
It's a beautiful thing to witness, as I pour more coffee. Guests come in as strangers, and leave as friends. This is a fact. Laid out is a pen and notepaper because I know they will end up swapping numbers and Facebook profiles so that they can keep in touch, now bonded and united in their joy and sadness as parents of FSU students.
So our tagline "...for a proper night's rest" may have to be changed to "...find a friend in your hour of need" or perhaps "....you're a great parent, we're here to remind you!" Change is hard, the transition of nurturing a child and watching them fly the coop is harder still.
Our part in this milestone event? Providing a welcoming place at the end of each exhausting day.
FSU parents have told us over and over how lovely it was to come "home" at the end of each day, put their feet up in our little conservatory, unwind a bit, perhaps with another parent. Rest not only the body, but also the aching heart.
It's part of the joy as an innkeeper. So if you're headed to Tallahassee, to get oriented to FSU, we'll tell you how to find us...just look for the red postbox!