When my oldest child left for college, there was not really that much time for me to miss her. Of course I missed her, sometimes terribly, on a day-to-day basis – but right when I was getting used to her being gone it was time to fly across the country to visit her for Parent’s Weekend. This was about six weeks after we had made the same trip to get her moved into the dorm and grab some clam chowder before leaving her in Boston to return to California.
Parent’s weekend was wonderful – she was adjusting well, making friends, learning to be on her own – she spent the entire weekend sleeping with us in our hotel room, and there were, of course, tears when we said goodbye to go home again. It was a little easier this time, with six weeks behind us, but that round trip flight from LA to Boston is really long – not to mention expensive.
Then, just a few weeks later, it was Thanksgiving, and she came home for the first time since starting college. Amidst a flurry of activity and a reunion with her brother, who she hadn’t seen since she left in August, we had a nice visit, enjoyed the turkey and pumpkin pie, and then back she went – no tears this time, because of course, just three weeks later, she was home, again, for winter break.
And that was just the first semester.You think you will miss your college freshman - but maybe not so much.Click To Tweet
What a lot of parents don’t realize when their first child goes to college is that, freshman year, your kids aren’t really gone the way you think they’ll be gone. Yes, they are living somewhere else, and yes, your house is going to feel different than it did before they left, but if you do things the way a lot of parents do, you’ll see them often. In fact, you may see them more often than you should or (gasp!) possibly want to.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with my daughter, and later my son – far from it. I loved the initial thrill of looking at their beautiful faces again after weeks apart, cooking their favorite meals, snuggling on the sofa, seeing all their friends. But each time they came and went, there was an adjustment to be made, both when they returned home and when they went back to school. Not just an adjustment for me – they had to re-enter the family home and dynamic and find their footing over and over again. Freshman year being what it is – which is to say, a long stretch of adapting and changing – there were some mixed emotions about being away and coming back that weren’t always easy to manage – both theirs and mine.
Add to the mix the gift of Facetime, Skype and all the social media posts you may (or may not) see. The texting, the phone calls, the emails…depending on how close by your child’s college is, you just might see them more often than you did senior year.
Spring semester can slow down the back and forth a bit, but they will most likely be back for spring break, if not for a long weekend visit before that. And then, just as you’re getting used to them no longer living in your home – just as you think you’ve become comfortable with the idea of having a child who is an adult – they return for the summer.
They always come back.