It’s a little unnerving when your kid goes to an out-of-state school. Sure, there are infinite positives a teen will experience at college, but every parent knows this phase has its own Venn diagram of peril. You read stuff. You hear things. You remember your youthful flubs. A parent can feel lost at sea.
Enter the doughnut, my personal emotional life preserver. That’s right, I said doughnut. This naughty breakfast confection is somehow getting me through the youngest-child-launch, at least for now.
Sounds like I’m stress-eating, doesn’t it? Au contraire. There’s a twist to this story: Turns out my college freshman has been frequenting an off-campus doughnut shop, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Out of context, this sounds weird. I think about all the ingredient labels I’ve studied, and all the carrots I’ve peeled through the years. I never would have guessed one day I’d say to one of my kids, “You went to the doughnut shop? Again? AWESOME!” Yet here I am, the apple fritter enabler.
Before you gasp over your gluten-free zucchini muffin, hear me out.
Doughnut Craze ’14 started innocently. From what I gleaned, early in my son’s semester, he and a buddy were happy about a hometown Chiefs and/or Royals victory. They wanted to celebrate. Probably on a whim, they popped into this really hip, super yummy 24-hour doughnut shop. (I have since been there, and wowza.) This place is a beacon of light and sweetness about a mile walk from their dorm.
By mid-September, after another team victory, my son sent me a 1 a.m. photo via cell phone. That shot shows him balancing on a throwback razor scooter in the middle of the doughnut shop.
His arms were outstretched. He was beaming. In one hand, he was grasping the ultimate “cocktail” — a custom milkshake with a handpicked doughnut blended in. But wait, there’s more: The shake was garnished with another doughnut on top, perhaps to help secure the straw.
(I know the idea of a doughnut-infused shake topped with a doughnut spins the Kale Universe into a full judgmental shudder. But again, try to stick with my logic … as if you’re a spilled glob of maple-bacon icing on a cashmere sweater.)
Around midterm, word had spread to other kids in the dorm. My son and his fellow Kansas City buddies would watch the Chiefs and Royals with other students, and then celebrate each victory afterward. Remember how the Royals swept up October? That’s a lot of doughnuts.
Today in my son’s dorm, coeds who hail from around the nation are fans of all teams KC — as well as some really good fried dough. (Personally, I could use a warm Red Velvet about now.) This started with just a couple of kids watching games and grabbing a celebratory treat. Now it’s a thing. A tradition. The group has grown to way over a baker’s dozen. They actually “clink” doughnuts to toast all Kansas City wins as well as their college victories. The group selfies continue to hit my phone. It’s a hoot.
And before you spill your quinoa on the floor, please know I saw college boy just a few weeks ago. Big picture-wise, he’s a healthy eater. He stays active and still struggles to find jeans with a small enough waist size match up with his long legs. No “freshman 15” situation here.
My point? I’d rather have my son and his crowd make the term “D.D.” stand for Designated doughnuts for as long as possible.
Maybe I’m naïve — I know my parents never heard the details of my coed days — but so far, so good. The kid is serious with his studies, curious about the world, and he manages to be social-without-staggering. That’s all I can hope for.
A watering hole versus doughnut-ing hole? Yep, I’ll take the latter. Cheers.
Freelance writer Denise Snodell writes alternate weeks.