When I sent my daughter off to the nether reaches of Maine (Presque Isle) I never realized how difficult it would be not to see her day in and day out. The one less schedule turned into trying to counsel and comfort someone five hours away, where I could do nothing but talk.
This week parents all over Windham, Raymond, Gray and New Gloucester will welcome home their college freshmen for the first time.
I’ve been lucky to have seen my daughter a few times at various volleyball games and Columbus weekend. Others I know have not seen their child since August. Absence truly makes the heart grow fonder, if that’s possible.
The empty nest syndrome is only that…empty.
I don’t remember my parents’ reactions when I went away to college in upstate New York. I do remember how they acted when I returned home. My mom and I snuggled in bed while I regaled her with stories of my roommates and their crazy antics, my television/radio classes and what it was like to have that first taste of freedom.
My mom asked me what I needed and if I wanted to go shopping. We only shopped for holidays, birthdays and back to school, so this was a huge moment and I totally took advantage of it.
When I returned to school with Elizabeth Richards (we drove home that weekend together), I was energized and had a clearer picture of what I wanted to do. In a flash of brilliance and independence, I contacted the University of Maine at Orono and prepared to change schools.
Knowing that I could go away and come home, be close and still have autonomy from my parents was a great thing.
I don’t expect that everyone is going to come home this weekend and tell their parents they want to transfer, but remember when they do come home that these will be memories they will carry with them forever.
So bust out the turkey, open up the cranberry sauce, eat gobs of stuffing and hug that kid so tight that when they are back at college on a cold, dark night, they’ll remember that hug and know that no matter how far away they are, you’ve got their back.
Welcome home college students! We’re all glad you’re home for a visit.
- Michelle Libby