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Mom Shares The Gifts She's Sending With Her Daughter To College — 'Open When You're Feeling Sad'

Photo: @erinpercy60 / TikTok
mom, daughter, college

A mother’s bittersweet gift basket for her daughter going off to college is inspiring many other parents to do the same for their soon-to-be college student children. 

The high-school graduation gifts are intended to make the transition from home to university easier for both mother and daughter. 

Erin Percy, whose daughter Abby Rose will be attending the College of Charleston in South Carolina in just a few months, will be nine hours away from her Alabama home. Hoping to prepare her daughter for the big change in the best way possible, Erin composed a basket filled with packages that have hand-written notes attached to them. 

The gift basket contains various presents that are meant to be opened during difficult times away from home. 

In a heartwarming Tiktok video that has received over 4 million views, Erin shares the variety of thoughtful gifts she put together for Abby Rose. “Open me when it’s cold outside,” the first package reads. “Open me when you catch a cold.” The following gifts are introduced in a similar format. 

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Photo: TikTok

The rest of them read: "Open me when you need a little me time." "Open me when you need to break the ice with new people." "Open me when you don’t have time to do laundry." "Open me any day but Sunday." "Open me before midterms." "Open me when you need a little jolt." "Open me with you get your first A." Open me when we say goodbye.” 

Other TikTok users were overwhelmed with emotions at Erin’s wonderful yet heartbreaking idea. “I lost it at ‘open me when we say goodbye’ and am still crying as I type this,” one user commented. “We’re all crying over here on this side of TikTok,” another user wrote. 

Other parents who are also sending their kids off to college in the fall asked what was inside the adorable packages.“You’re KILLING ME. I’m dying to see what’s inside. My daughter is off to university in the fall and I’ve been thinking about the care packages,” one user shared. 

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“I wanted to give her a few things for those important moments that I'm going to miss,” Erin told TODAY. “We’re really, really close.” The mother claims that the Covid-19 pandemic made Abby Rose’s high school experience difficult and that she just wants her daughter to have “an awesome, normal, college experience.” 

Photo: TikTok

Erin adds that she is a stage 3 breast cancer survivor and that while she was undergoing treatment, Abby Rose was her biggest supporter. “Even though I’m seven years in remission, I worry, 'What if I can’t be there for her?'” her mom admits. “Subconsciously, I think that had something to do with the gifts as well.”

In a follow-up TikTok video, Erin addressed all of the positive feedback she received and hopes that her idea inspires and comforts other parents who are sending their children off to college. “It just goes to show that there’s a lot of mamas out there that are sad but happy for our kiddos to go off into the big bad world,” she says. She also includes her daughter’s Venmo information for any viewers who want to contribute to her college fund. 

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As for what was actually in those cute little packages with the handwritten notes, Erin revealed with TODAY what each one contained. 

Open me when it’s cold outside: A cozy sweatsuit.

Open me when you catch a cold: Honey, teas, cough drops, and Vicks VapoRub. 

Open me when you need a little me time: Spa day goodies, including face masks. “We spend way too much time at Ulta,” Erin says. 

Open me when you need to break the ice with new people: Party games for Abby Rose to play with her roommates. 

Open me when you don’t have time to do the laundry: A week’s worth of socks and underwear!

Open me any day but Sunday: Chick-Fil-A gift card.

Open me before midterms: A gift card for Insomnia cookies, which offers delivery until 3 a.m. 

Open me when you need a little jolt: Starbucks gift card. 

Open me when you get your first A: An “A” pendant.

Open me when we say goodbye: “When she was little I used to sing her the song 'You are my Sunshine,'" the mother shares. “So I got her a sun necklace — and we each get one half. I’m already wearing mine.” 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.