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My middle DD just graduated HS and is off to college in late August. She is bright, generous, loving, and loved by all. I have a small concern which is probably an outgrowth of already missing her. It is so silly I'm afraid to write it...yet. Any moms of off-to-college daughters listening? (Elder daughter enters her senior year of college, so this is not a new experience. Youngest is 13). Thanks!
 

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My middle DD just graduated HS and is off to college in late August. She is bright, generous, loving, and loved by all. I have a small concern which is probably an outgrowth of already missing her. It is so silly I'm afraid to write it...yet. Any moms of off-to-college daughters listening? (Elder daughter enters her senior year of college, so this is not a new experience. Youngest is 13). Thanks!
I'm listening.

I have a college graduate, male 27, a rising senior in college, female, 20, a rising sophomore in college, male 18, a 16 yo son and a 13 yo daughter.
 

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Thank you, SchoolmarmDE. Five children, two IN college, and two yet to go, whew! You must be busy. I am experiencing what I feel pretty sure is irrational hurt, but I wanted to express it and get some feedback. Back story: my DH and I have three wonderful daughters
 

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Thank you, SchoolmarmDE. Five children, two IN college, and two yet to go, whew! You must be busy. I am experiencing what I feel pretty sure is irrational hurt, but I wanted to express it and get some feedback. Back story: my DH and I have three wonderful daughters adopted internationally; each was about age 1. How could we be so lucky? Each is healthy, lovely, warm, generous, loving, and smart. I was heartbroken when DD #1 went to college, but I never let her know. All that mattered was that she transition out of her homesickness quickly and well, and she did. DD #2 and I are very alike in our views, interests, and tastes. Through 10th grade, she achieved high scholastically, but was very introverted and I was her sounding board. Happily, DD #2 , matured, grew in her sense of independence, made a half-dozen friends and played sports (huge strides), but she closed the door literally and figuratively on me. From what I have read in books and articles, this is perfectly right and healthy for her to separate and gain her sense of self. She chats more with DH now than with me, and I understand that is a good thing for her to do, to develop as a woman and separate from her mother. In her senior year of high school she was at once both very healthy in mind and body but had a kind of "controlled anxiety" about taking 6 AP courses and applying to colleges. What I mean is she was very on top of things, used her time wisely, and ate and slept well. But she was short with me and non-communicative. So this was very hurtful, and what I read said "Do not bring it up. This is normal. Understand what she is going through. Her brain is still developing." Well, after her college acceptances arrived, she graduated from HS (Valedictorian), and passed her road test, lo and behold, she became brighter and more communicative with me...talked about boys, clothes, friends. But t's hard to define how I sense a real loss of interest in me on her part. I sense that she wants to wind down a spontaneous mother/daughter relationship and keep me at arm's length. For a long time I have given her tons of space and peace and quiet and I sure am not pushing it. My best friend is a therapist and she also has a daughter from the same international country. She interprets my daughter's distancing behavior as my daughter's necessary effort to separate from me because she is experiencing the onset of separation anxiety (I should mention that in 10th and 11th grade, DD #2 had extreme homesickness while away at scholastic summer camps). Do you think I am on target so far? If I've got it right, I just want my daughter to be happy and excel at college and not be homesick, and I have not intention of leaning on her in any way with phone calls or emails. As with DD #1 , she will take the lead once she is settled. I would like to know if readers think I have it right. And if you care to, help me understand this really dumb thing: my daughter got tons of graduation presents, and hard worker that she is, she had all her thank you notes written within 48 hours. Except one to me. I gave her a pair of faux diamond earrings. I'm okay with the fact that she didn't write me a thank-you note. Since we live together, why should she? But I feel sad because she put all the cards that came with her gifts on top of the piano. Except mine. Ugh. How pathetic. I'm thinking, maybe she is keeping my card in a special place? Isn't this silly? I think this springs from missing her already? And yes, I have a job, friends, interests, hobbies, and wonderful DD #3 to keep me busy. I have to add, no harsh or judgmental words, please. I have weathered some serious loses over a great many years and I'm feeling very vulnerable....
Well, I'd say I think, based on what you've said, that you're overthinking it.

I know it hurts. With middle son home from college this summer, I sometimes feel like a not-very-bright under housemaid. He gives me that blank "you're talking, I hope you get to something interesting soon, because, honestly, I'm very busy." expression, when I ask him who he's talking to on his phone. He "cleaned" the room he shares with his brother by boxing up everything he didn't, personally, want, and barely let the poor boy sit on his own bed. I told my husband, the other day, that I can't believe I had the luck to give birth to a child who NEVER made an error, of any kind.

In sum, kids that age can be kind of jerks.

His sister was the same thing, with slightly different trim. She organized an event at school...we talked about it all summer. When the event actually happened, she had changed every detail, like, every favor. It's ridiculous, but my feelings were hurt like being ditched at prom. Partially because she'd changed it, but mostly because she hadn't even let me know. What was the matter with the twinkle lights?

But it's getting a little better. She washes a few dishes without looking like a dead shark at me. She's nice to her sister. It helps that she was abroad last semester, she missed us.

I know you, like me, don't want to be the creepy mom hiding under the dorm bed. But it's really hard to go through years of support, driving them to stuff and buying supplies for the science fair, and holding their hands through disappointment, and then be shut out of all the exciting challenges of going to college. Like, it would kill you to even TELL me when you're a speaker at Honors Convocation?

It gets better, gradually. My 27 year old calls almost every day. At that age, the only way I could tell he was alive was to track him through his credit card spending.

(((((Hugs))))))) let me know, any time you want to talk about it. There should be some sort of college age version of a baby book for us to keep our memories in. Unfortunately, it would be like: And here's a picture of what I was doing while you were at Winter Formal. I was sitting by the phone, telling myself I already taught you the dangers of driving with someone who has been drinking. And here I am at the grocery story, when you were elected to Student Senate. Here I am sorting your old laundry, while you and Valerie made that plan to travel to England.

Yeah. I didn't live through potty training to undermine you in that way. But the temptation is pretty strong, some days. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I'd say I think, based on what you've said, that you're overthinking it.

I know it hurts. With middle son home from college this summer, I sometimes feel like a not-very-bright under housemaid. He gives me that blank "you're talking, I hope you get to something interesting soon, because, honestly, I'm very busy." expression, when I ask him who he's talking to on his phone. He "cleaned" the room he shares with his brother by boxing up everything he didn't, personally, want, and barely let the poor boy sit on his own bed. I told my husband, the other day, that I can't believe I had the luck to give birth to a child who NEVER made an error, of any kind.

In sum, kids that age can be kind of jerks.

His sister was the same thing, with slightly different trim. She organized an event at school...we talked about it all summer. When the event actually happened, she had changed every detail, like, every favor. It's ridiculous, but my feelings were hurt like being ditched at prom. Partially because she'd changed it, but mostly because she hadn't even let me know. What was the matter with the twinkle lights?

But it's getting a little better. She washes a few dishes without looking like a dead shark at me. She's nice to her sister. It helps that she was abroad last semester, she missed us.

I know you, like me, don't want to be the creepy mom hiding under the dorm bed. But it's really hard to go through years of support, driving them to stuff and buying supplies for the science fair, and holding their hands through disappointment, and then be shut out of all the exciting challenges of going to college. Like, it would kill you to even TELL me when you're a speaker at Honors Convocation?

It gets better, gradually. My 27 year old calls almost every day. At that age, the only way I could tell he was alive was to track him through his credit card spending.

(((((Hugs))))))) let me know, any time you want to talk about it. There should be some sort of college age version of a baby book for us to keep our memories in. Unfortunately, it would be like: And here's a picture of what I was doing while you were at Winter Formal. I was sitting by the phone, telling myself I already taught you the dangers of driving with someone who has been drinking. And here I am at the grocery story, when you were elected to Student Senate. Here I am sorting your old laundry, while you and Valerie made that plan to travel to England.

Yeah. I didn't live through potty training to undermine you in that way. But the temptation is pretty strong, some days. :wink:
Good morning, and what a fun and supportive reply, SchoolmarmDE! I loved the anecdotes, especially the one about tracking DS through no route except his credit card spending. DD #2 's occasional remoteness, rejection, and general adolescent behavior came as a big surprise because DD #1 , now 22....seems to have never gone through adolescence! DD #1 has invited me to go on an a driving excursion for the day today. Yes, overthinking, obsessing, and unnecessarily worrying could all be my middle names. I just got a reminder of what I already essentially knew, but was failing to put into practice because my emotions were ruling my reason. I was brooding over the fact that DD # 2 may not ask me any more to go on walks with her around our nearby lake. Silly, selfish, unhealthy, brooding...I totally know it. Then DD #2 comes to me and cheerfully asks me to accompany her on a walk to "find a Pokemon on her screen"! It seems there is a new "Find a Pokemon" game using Google maps. And she was full of cheery chat. Proof positive that she has not moth-balled me out of her life, and that my brooding was foolish. I am actually looking forward to delivering her to her college where her time will be absorbed by interactions with professors and smart young women and challenging activities. She is an adult, but I am, this summer, in a touch-and-go fashion misperceiving her as a child (who needs me). College will be a wonderful stimulus for her, and her being a college student will enable me to perceive her as a strong adult woman with whom I will define a new role as her mother whose role as a nurturer has turned into the role of occasional advisor and supporter.

Any more discussion on this "daughter (or son) leaving for college" topic would be most welcome!
 

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Well, I'd say I think, based on what you've said, that you're overthinking it.

I know it hurts. With middle son home from college this summer, I sometimes feel like a not-very-bright under housemaid. He gives me that blank "you're talking, I hope you get to something interesting soon, because, honestly, I'm very busy." expression, when I ask him who he's talking to on his phone. He "cleaned" the room he shares with his brother by boxing up everything he didn't, personally, want, and barely let the poor boy sit on his own bed. I told my husband, the other day, that I can't believe I had the luck to give birth to a child who NEVER made an error, of any kind.

In sum, kids that age can be kind of jerks.

His sister was the same thing, with slightly different trim. She organized an event at school...we talked about it all summer. When the event actually happened, she had changed every detail, like, every favor. It's ridiculous, but my feelings were hurt like being ditched at prom. Partially because she'd changed it, but mostly because she hadn't even let me know. What was the matter with the twinkle lights?

But it's getting a little better. She washes a few dishes without looking like a dead shark at me. She's nice to her sister. It helps that she was abroad last semester, she missed us.

I know you, like me, don't want to be the creepy mom hiding under the dorm bed. But it's really hard to go through years of support, driving them to stuff and buying supplies for the science fair, and holding their hands through disappointment, and then be shut out of all the exciting challenges of going to college. Like, it would kill you to even TELL me when you're a speaker at Honors Convocation?

It gets better, gradually. My 27 year old calls almost every day. At that age, the only way I could tell he was alive was to track him through his credit card spending.

(((((Hugs))))))) let me know, any time you want to talk about it. There should be some sort of college age version of a baby book for us to keep our memories in. Unfortunately, it would be like: And here's a picture of what I was doing while you were at Winter Formal. I was sitting by the phone, telling myself I already taught you the dangers of driving with someone who has been drinking. And here I am at the grocery story, when you were elected to Student Senate. Here I am sorting your old laundry, while you and Valerie made that plan to travel to England.

Yeah. I didn't live through potty training to undermine you in that way. But the temptation is pretty strong, some days. :wink:

I love your writing and the way you put these things. I have been laughing out loud!!!!

Wow it is good to know I am normal!! or at least we can all agree on a weird version of normal. I think back to all the years of self sacrifice for them--not the least in the broody way of 'all i have done for you,' but just factually all that we did do for them, and it is so amazing the way things go in these transition years.

I have a son entering third year of college and a daughter leaving this summer. I've had times of closeness and conflict with both of them. I think I've done a pretty good job of staying emotionally mature through it all, but it's hard and it takes a lot of energy. Or none if I choose! I realize I get to decide how upset or not to be.

MOre later, keep getting interrupted.
 

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Good morning, and what a fun and supportive reply, SchoolmarmDE! I loved the anecdotes, especially the one about tracking DS through no route except his credit card spending. DD #2 's occasional remoteness, rejection, and general adolescent behavior came as a big surprise because DD #1 , now 22....seems to have never gone through adolescence! DD #1 has invited me to go on an a driving excursion for the day today. Yes, overthinking, obsessing, and unnecessarily worrying could all be my middle names. I just got a reminder of what I already essentially knew, but was failing to put into practice because my emotions were ruling my reason. I was brooding over the fact that DD # 2 may not ask me any more to go on walks with her around our nearby lake. Silly, selfish, unhealthy, brooding...I totally know it. Then DD #2 comes to me and cheerfully asks me to accompany her on a walk to "find a Pokemon on her screen"! It seems there is a new "Find a Pokemon" game using Google maps. And she was full of cheery chat. Proof positive that she has not moth-balled me out of her life, and that my brooding was foolish. I am actually looking forward to delivering her to her college where her time will be absorbed by interactions with professors and smart young women and challenging activities. She is an adult, but I am, this summer, in a touch-and-go fashion misperceiving her as a child (who needs me). College will be a wonderful stimulus for her, and her being a college student will enable me to perceive her as a strong adult woman with whom I will define a new role as her mother whose role as a nurturer has turned into the role of occasional advisor and supporter.

Any more discussion on this "daughter (or son) leaving for college" topic would be most welcome!
I love that you now realize she's an adult because she's hunting Pokemon.

And that's the challenge of parenting, in a nutshell.

They are not healthy adults when they don't need us. They are healthy adults when they have the ability to need and connect with other humans voluntarily.

Before that point, there's always the possibility that when we push them on the swing they'll kick us in the teeth. :grin:
 

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I love that you now realize she's an adult because she's hunting Pokemon.

And that's the challenge of parenting, in a nutshell.

They are not healthy adults when they don't need us. They are healthy adults when they have the ability to need and connect with other humans voluntarily.

Before that point, there's always the possibility that when we push them on the swing they'll kick us in the teeth. :grin:
Yes, SchoolmarmDE, you have a wicked humor--the High School Baby Book is an idea I can SO relate to. Senior Year would be six volumes, and PROM would be an entire volume. If my two women friends hear the words "THE ZIPPER" they burst into laughter. You caught the absurdity of DD #2 playing Pokemon companionably alongside me this morning and later in the day treating me as if I'm invisible accurately. I think that DD #2 's increasing bouts of remoteness are causing me to forget that she is, as you point out, not REALLY an adult even though she is 18. Experience has prepared me for her possibly encountering a bumpy adjustment into college. I think the bottom line is that I need confidence to understand that when she sends me signals to step back, it isn't personal. It's developmental, and its healthy and appropriate. The other side of the drama queen/independence-minded young lady is a young lady embarking on a scary, new, challenging life. Please pass the Lady Clairol.
 

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Sweetly, the night before her 18th birthday, my dear middle child asked to have us read together all her childhood stories, sitting on the bed together (the 11year old joined us; that broke things up a bit and made it 'o.k.')

I think the vascillation between 'take care of me I'm still ittle' and 'leave me alone I'm a big kid' is kind of wonderful. But it can be hard on the psyche.

She is away right now for 3 weeks at a camp. We are practicing being without her. We don't like it.
 

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SM, I clicked "send" to reply to your PM but the forum told me I must have 15 posts before I can send a PM. DD # 2 will be attending Wellesley College, a three-hour drive from her home and a 45-minute drive from a loving aunt and uncle w/cousins who want to host her and her friends as frequently as DD would like (they have a home on the ocean).
Ah, my neice graduated from Wellesley. My daughter spent a lot of time visiting there, decided it wasn't for her but applied and was accepted to several women's colleges...at one of which she is student body president.

Go post some recipes or something so we can chat privately. I have BUNCHES of things to say about attending single sex schools, particularly.
 

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Sweetly, the night before her 18th birthday, my dear middle child asked to have us read together all her childhood stories, sitting on the bed together (the 11year old joined us; that broke things up a bit and made it 'o.k.')

I think the vascillation between 'take care of me I'm still ittle' and 'leave me alone I'm a big kid' is kind of wonderful. But it can be hard on the psyche.

She is away right now for 3 weeks at a camp. We are practicing being without her. We don't like it.
Awwww.

I know you'll miss her. I hope she has an amazing time at camp.

Do you have something special planned for the little one? When my eldest moved across the country, she absolutely PINED for him.
 

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You're not being irrational. It hurts. (Even though your daughter is perfect in every way, loved by everyone and an excellent student it's possible that she may still act like a jerk towards her mother sometimes.)

I was told by other experienced moms that they come back to you in their twenties and they apologize. I didn't believe this until it happened.

The thing is we have to leave the door open so it can happen. I've seen parents who "remind" their twenty-somethings of what they put their parents through when they were teens. In general that's not a good idea. The distancing often is just a part of their evolution as people and if you don't rub it in they'll come around on their own.

Don't deny your own feelings either. It hurts. It can hurt really badly. But if you walk through your feelings honestly you come through on the other side.

Be prepared to surprise yourself with how easy it may be to forgive and how completely you're able to forgive.

it can be tough realizing that you have to move on in to an adult relationship with your offspring. They will forget half of what they did as teens. But they will remember the patterns of your relationship. They will demand to enter the new phase of relating as adult-to-adult. It can be hard to let go of the "go-to" gestures of exasperation that may linger from their teen years in order to enter this new relationship but it will be worth it.

In the meantime I see you bending over backwards to support your daughter and not put any stress on her, even when your feelings are bruised. Please stop. :wink: it's okay to let her know when she hurts your feelings. In fact it's important for her growth, not as student or valedictorian, but as a young woman.

I'm sorry this road is hard and sorry for the other things you've been through that you briefly referenced. You're not alone on this path.
 

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Just had to say this is a great thread, and I'm taking notes as the mom of a rising junior and a rising 8th grader!!

:nerd::grin:
 

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I think the vascillation between 'take care of me I'm still ittle' and 'leave me alone I'm a big kid' is kind of wonderful.
Me too! My kids have always been full of contradictions, and this peri-adulthood thing is just another category of contradictions. Welcome to the funhouse! Yes, it's freaky and mind-bending, but heck, it can sure be fun too.

I have a 22yo grad student dd who has lived on her own on the other side of the country for five years and who spent a year prior to that (at 15) making twice-monthly independent overnight bus trips and boarding away six days a month for music training. I have a 17yo dd who had to live away from home during her last couple of years of high school, who is heading further afield for college next month. And a startlingly mature 13yo dd who will begin living away for high school (albeit with near-daily parental contact) in the fall. I also have a 19yo ds in his 3rd year of college 8 hours away, doing a summer semester to open up flexibility for a co-op semester in the work force, possibly abroad.

So I've been through a lot of points of departure with my kids, often at early and unexpected times. This has kept me perpetually off-kilter, not being able to cling to traditional expectations about my teens, their independence or their relationships to home and parents. And I think that's been helpful to me because I've had no choice but to let go of expectations of them being fully prepared, of me being at peace with the change, of a perfectly smooth transition. It was bound to feel like a gut-punch.

But it's all good. For every gut-punch moment, there were many contrary moments when I would think to myself "holy cow, my kid is amazing! she is handling all this stuff and making her own way, to hell with the bumps along the way!"

I guess what I'm saying is that it's okay to not feel prepared and confident about the transition. You will always feel like you have unfinished business with your kids, and that's fine: no one's dying, you're just moving in new directions. Things mostly have a way of working out, and convincing yourself of that will allow you pass along a message of confidence to your teen that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not confidence that everything will go well, but confidence that she'll be able to successfully work through things when they don't go well. Obstacles have a way of becoming stepping stones to growth. Transitions are often messy in the way of renovations: you're on your way to something new and more evolved, but in the meantime you're hand-washing dishes in the bathtub... and that's just how it is.

Miranda
 

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Update from dharma.wheel

Greetings friends, I wanted to thank those who made their way through my tedious posts.Thanks! Progress report: DD enlisted my help to engage in a week-long cleaning/decorating/moving furniture enterprise leading up to a blockbuster party on July 29. From that point, through all the shopping for her room, as she looked more comfortably/less fearfully to making the transition to college, she returned to her warm and attentive self toward me. Tight hug when we said goodbye at college. Tight hug when I picked her up for a weekend home. "Ask Mom" texts, e.g.

"Mom, I want to walk to the grocery store. Is it okay to do that?"
"Yes, just keep in mind that the police say to walk against the traffic so that no one can pull you into the car."

"Mom, I'm walking home from the grocery store. I bought a case of water. Its too heavy to carry. Should I call Security to come get me or should I bring it back?"
"Security may not like to be called. Bring it back to Customer Service. No one will care. Then buy three bottles and walk home."

She loves her classes, has a great roommate, friends, and goes into Boston every weekend.

Denouement: Mother (self) was completely neurotic and experiencing separation anxiety from her daughter.

Challenge: My 13-year old is lonely with both older sisters away and holing up in her room. Need to find ways to engage with her and show her attention.
 

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Thanks for the update! I get similar texts from mine. This morning: do I have something homeopathic with me that will ward off a cold? (No, go to the co-op and get something and I will reimburse you!)

Mine also loves classes, getting eyes opened wide in women's studies, anthropology, economics. Likes roomates a lot.

We have an almost 12 yr old with similar dilemma--misses her big sister!!! (We should get them together!)

She might come home this weekend. Psyched!
 

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DD is coming home from Fri pm to Wed am (easy Amtrak train). Mini-fall break, oddly followed by Parents' Weekend the very next weekend.

I think I will start a thread about young teen daughters; the collective wisdom her is so valuable.
 

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"Mom, I'm walking home from the grocery store. I bought a case of water. Its too heavy to carry. Should I call Security to come get me or should I bring it back?"
Oh my gosh, these are just adorable texts! Some day you'll be able to remind her about them and she'll laugh so hard. Intro to Adulting 101. In a year you'll have seen so much growth. You'll remember those texts with such fondness.

My 17yo doesn't seem to be having any difficulty with the transition to college. I had worried that she might find life there too tightly controlled after a couple of years of living partly on her own without the social and administrative structure of dorm and college life, but she's really enjoying all the intensity and proximity to others who share her dreams and her lifestyle.

My 13yo is an only child now, but she has started full-time school after being primarily homeschooled previously, so she has a lot of new stuff on her plate and is not missing her sister much at all. She went through the loss-of-sibling-companionship two years ago when her brother moved away and her now-17yo-sister moved to a new high school out of town. We did a fair number of special adventures together to try to compensate ... a few low-key road trips, hikes, camping, skating, . It was still a hard year, but she recalls those things with great fondness now.

Miranda
 
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