Local author to sign new book of tips for parents of college-bound kids
Park City-based writer Liz Yokubison, whose work has been featured in Yoga Journal, Women’s Adventure and Park City Magazine, sent her twins off to college two years ago, and felt the “sads.”
The first few months of sharing an empty nest with her husband Ron were painful and lonely.
“I kept asking other empty nesters where the ‘What to Expect When Your Kid Goes to College’ book was,” Yokubison said. “We have ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ and ‘What to Expect: The Toddler Years,’ but we were missing something. So I decided to do something about it.”
Yokubison drew on her writing interest and penned “They’re Ready. Are You? A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the College Transition,” which she will sign for free at Dolly’s Bookstore from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.
The book, which was written after her kids were already gone to college, begins with how Yokubison was feeling when her children, Alex and Morgan, were sophomores at Park City High School.
“I felt this pit in my stomach and I remember lamenting that I only had three years left until they were gone,” she said.
The book, which is available at Dolly’s and on Amazon, documents some of Yokubison’s experiences as a parent who knows her children will be leaving home.
“By the time the kids got into senior year, my mantra was ‘the year of letting go,’” she said.
Yokubison had to condition herself to let her children go to the dentist by themselves and allow them to make their own appointments for the barber.
“The idea was they were going to turn 18, become adults and live by themselves,” she said, “So it was the time to start treating them like adults.”
The book includes chapters on college orientation sessions, staying in touch and how parents can build a strong marriage as empty nesters.
“My husband and I were married for 22 years when the kids went to school two years ago and the danger for being married for that long with kids is if the couple isn’t careful, their whole marriage could be hinged on the kids,” Yokubison said. “Once the kids go off to college, the couple may look at each other and ask, ‘Who are you?’”
The chapter regarding marriage is about the weekly date nights and quarterly trips Yokubision and her husband embarked on during their kids’ senior year.
“We had to make sure our marriage was solid before the kids left, because while we knew we were super close as a family – as a mother and father to the kids – we had to have that security to turn to each other and support each other as husband and wife when we started missing the kids,” she said.
While most of the book is written from Yokubison’s perspective, she recruited the expertise of other empty nesters she knew.
“Since I was a mother of twins, I needed perspective from other mothers who had kids who were of different ages,” Yokubison said.
Her existing relationships with the women deepened in the course of writing the book.
“These women took me under their wings during the first six months of my kids being gone, and I learned so much from each of them,” Yokubision said. “I appreciated the insights they provided, especially in the chapter about siblings who were different ages. I couldn’t really write about that from a personal level, because my kids are twins.”
Once Yokubison interviewed the women, she found it easy to pepper their insights throughout the book.
“One story is about how one of the women’s daughters had given her a stuffed bear and said if she ever missed the daughter to hug the bear,” she said.
Yokubison wrote the book in four months and it took another six months to get it published, she said.
“Part of that was six weeks interviewing published authors,” she said. “That drove me to self-publishing. It became clear to me that it would take another year or so to find an agent, and I needed to put this book out now.”
Two years after her twins left home – Morgan to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, and Alex to Boston University – Yokubison knows her kids are in the right place.
“As I watched the college journey play out, it became clear to me if I stepped back as a parent and let the kids make their decisions, they would end up exactly where they need to be,” she said. “And if they end up where they need to be, then as much as you miss them, you will see them happy and thriving.”
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