So, I took Heather off to college last Thursday. We get her moved in and go through the day with sporadic anxiety attacks, but nothing alarming. In fact I was relieved when at the end of the day, she sends me a text message and says we probably won't be able to meet up before I head back home because she's found one of her friends and they are doing their thing. Being me, I'm not going to just leave her there without giving her a hug and kiss goodbye. After giving me the perfunctory hug she takes off with her friend, and I head to my car - in tears. I'm glad she seems so OK with this, but I'm not sure I'm OK with this.
Friday, I get up, come home, and consciously not call, text, e-mail or otherwise try to contact Heather. I don't want to be one of those horrible "helicopter" parents that refuses to let their child become a responsible adult.
Sadly, the past few days have been very hard on my baby and she's very, very homesick. Periodically she has what she calls "breakdowns" and gets anxious and cries and feels like she's the only one feeling that way. No matter what I do to try and make her feel better, it's not working. In the span of 10 minutes I receive 4 text messages. "I don't think I can do this." "I want to be home." "I don't want to be here." and "I miss you."
Oh, what's a mom to do? There's nothing I wouldn't do to keep my baby from hurting, but I *know* Heather is capable of "doing this," and will succeed if she could just stop being homesick. There are so many tips, suggestions, ideas of what to do to help your child adjust to college, but all of them require time. I want her to be OK RIGHT NOW! not a day, a week, a month, or a semester from now.
One of our academic advisors told me a story about one of her students who had been in her office to work on some schedule snafu. The advisor notices the girl looks upset about something so the advisor asks the student if there is anything else on her mind. The girl's eyes well up with tears, and she responds, "I'm homesick." The advisor tells her this is very normal and she'll be OK and then asks her where the student is from. The student answers, "Niwot." Niwot?! Niwot is maybe a 20 minute drive from campus. This poor girl is homesick and home is only 8 miles away. Just goes to show that home is at the other end of the earth when you are on a strange campus, living with strange people in a strange room, and out of your comfort zone.
I just want my baby to be happy, safe, and comfortable. And I know she will be. Hopefully soon. Very, very soon. If not, mom's going to have her own "breakdown" and will be roaring up to Laramie to hug her baby.