Help! Oldest daughter going off to college. We need support

<p>My daughter and oldest child is going to college six hours away. I've been so happy and excited for her and have not been sad up until now. She's leaving in three weeks and I am ridiculously sad. I've held it together, but then yesterday, she broke down and cried and said "i'll miss you Mommy" and I've been down ever since. Does anyone have any advice on how to manage the next few months? Any experience with what to expect? We've always been very close, but she's been away from home before and we've managed. I feel like our lives are changing now. I've heard people describe what happens the first few months (poor communication etc.) and wonder if anyone had any ideas on how to make the transition as smooth as possible?</p>

<p>When the first one went away she set me up with IM. I would log on daily but not initiate contact, I would wait for her to 'talk' first.
Did the same for second child; saw some interesting away messages over the years!!
This time around it seems Facebook has replaced IM. I do not have an account (not sure if my kids would 'friend' me) but we make good use of our unlimited texting on our family share phones. This feature is particularly useful with different time zones and/or different sleep schedules.</p>

<p>{{{{hugs}}}</p>

<p>You will survive. It will probably be a lot harder on you than on her. My daughter and I keep in touch a lot by text. I can text her when a thought I want to share crosses my mind without worrying about disturbing her in class or whatever she is doing. Seems like a good way to keep in touch without being over intrusive (as long as you don't send 1000 texts a day).</p>

<p>Agree with mominva--IM can provide daily contact. Just keep it short. Also, if I found anything cute in the newspaper or at the store, I'd send it. Tried to send something 3 times a week. Trust me, it wasn't for the benefit of D--it was for my benefit! After the first year, I was back to normal.</p>

<p>But I noticed that when she brought her stuff home from college (she graduated in June), she had a little box in which she kept all of the things I had sent her in her first year.</p>

<p>Looks like parents aren't the only ones who miss family that first year.</p>

<p>I found that we kept in fairly consistent contact at first but as time moved on she got into her stuff and life continued for us. We missed her dearly but it all worked out. She was a daddy's girl and we were pals. It was terribly difficult but when you visit (she is 5 hours away) you know it is worth it because when you left her at the beginning of the year she was tearful and afraid. A couple of months later she will be maturing into a woman and you will see the changes (for the better) that have come with independence. Hang in there... It will work be ok.</p>

<p>^^^ My husband loves to send cartoons from the paper when they strike him as being relevant to our daughter in some way. She kept them and even had some on her dorm door. We also send the odd card or stuff at times like finals. I sent some stress relief shower gel, lotion and spray last finals.</p>

<p>BusyMom, you should definitely plan something to look forward to after she leaves. Reconnect with an old friend, plan a weekend getaway, take an adult ed class, whatever makes you happy. I'm sure there's a lot of activity going on right now around getting her ready for college, and it will help to have something to alleviate the let down.</p>

<p>Sounds like you two have a great relationship!</p>

<p>From mid July to when we took her to school last year, I would become emotional at many inopportune times....(wow, how your mind can wander). I lost it when we said our final goodbyes (only when I saw my husband hugging and whispering things to her)....but amazingly, after we left and we all got into ou r new swing of things, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. Especially if things go well for your daughter (she likes her roommates, classes are good, meets a lot of people right away), it makes it SO much easier. I was able to accept that she had moved on to a new phase of her life (and really DIDN;T need me to offer helpful hints over her shoulder at EVERY move, ha ha), and since we always had great communication, I was really able to image her in her new lifestyle when we talked. We IM'ed, and text-messaged each other a LOT (especially first semester.)....and I agree on the sending things....silly stuff from the newspaper to a bona fide care package. And as far as I've seen on CC, college girls DO love to get mail, too!</p>

<p>p.s. and you'll be able to notice the changes in the dynamics between you and the kids still at home! It's amazing how quickly you get settled into "new" routines.</p>

<p>I am in the same boat as the OP. We knew this day would be coming, we planned and prepped for it. Now, I just want time to slow down just a little bit.</p>

<p>Thanks for all of your kind words. I really had no idea I would get as emotional as I am. It's like it's been pent up inside of me and has now burst out! astrophysicsmom - it sounds like it started at around the same time for you - so maybe the timing is commong? I just need people to tell me it will be okay - through their own experiences. So many of my friends can't wait for their child to leave and just can't relate to how I feel. Did anyone do anything special to send their child off or to commemorate their last days? We text a lot now, so that should be an easy continuation for us. She and I have worked so hard to get to this day and now I really want the time to drag. I want a few more vacations, a few more shopping days, a few more lunches..just more time! Will things really change as much as I dread? Ahh..I'm a mess! I'm not sharing this craziness with my daughter, so thank you CCers for letting me share it here!</p>

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Did anyone do anything special to send their child off or to commemorate their last days?

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<p>No, and having had two former freshmen in the family, I would advise against it. It only intensifies a situation that may already be a considerable source of pressure for the student.</p>

<p>I"m right there with you BusyMom - I am a single parent whose only kid leaves in 3 weeks. At this point, I can't imagine driving off without her but I know I will do it and I will have to focus on how happy she will be. I loved every minute of college even though I was a bit homesick at the beginning. I keep reminding myself of those years. She and I are doing a spa mini vacation for a few days before she leaves. We're going to a place where the two of us have been going since she was 6 and it has always been special. I may cry when we leave there too.</p>

<p>BusyMom,
I DO understand where you are coming from, you just can't get those babies back.
Nonetheless, each of our kids were so ornery by departure time that the family motto became 'Don't let the door hit you in the behind on your way out!'. And the siblings on the other end of the bickering heard 'She/he will be gone soon!'
But these held true even for the last one, for by then the older two had graduated and moved back to become our housemates.</p>

<p>Thank heavens for e-mail, IM and cell phones! How did our parents handle it with one phone call per week on the hall pay phone?</p>

<p>Here's what I did when my oldest left for college, and I stole this idea from someone else on CC (I don't remember who so I'm sorry I can't give credit): About 2 weeks after DS left for college, I hosted a wine-and-dessert party for about 5 couples who had all sent a freshman off to college. They were actually all the parents of DS's friends and we had become friendly through the years with our sons being in some of the same EC's. All of us still had younger kids left at home, so I called it a "Semi-Empty Nest" party. At first we all talked about taking the kids to school, and told funny move-in stories, and marveled that our boys had suddenly become so self-sufficient. Then the conversation moved on to things about ourselves. We had such a good time, we repeated the event twice throughout the year. It reminded us that we were all in the same boat, and we all knew each other's kid so it gave us a chance to talk about our kids and their growing years, which was really helpful when we missed them so much.</p>

<p>You'll be surprised how well you'll adjust to her being gone. But just when you get used to it, they come home on break. Then they leave again, and you miss them all over again!</p>

<p>My oldest D will be going off soon too. There will be no tears and sadness from her, she is so ready to go. She was gone 5 weeks last summer, and we barely heard from her, so a phone call or two a week is all I am expecting. The hardest part for me is the saying goodbye, once we are through that I think I'll be fine. With 2 other teenagers at home to occupy me, it won't be too quiet around here, but I will do a lot of private worrying.</p>

<p>Busymom,
Do you secretly live at our house? D and S will be leaving in less than 4 weeks and I feel like it is all I can do sometimes to "hold it together". S seems reasonably calm and excited, but our D is very nervous which ratchets up my emotions ten-fold. I have literally bookmarked this page-the 24 hour rule will probably serve DH and I well. I totally understand how you feel. My mom used to say, This too shall pass" -hopefully the coming month will find us seeing our children enjoying this transition so we can be more at ease with this change. Hugs to you and your D.</p>

<p>A friend of mine said she didn't want to cry when she left her oldest at college. So when the time came to leave, she reminded herself of all the parents bidding farewell to their sons & daughters at an airfield as their soldier son/daughter heads off to Iraq or Afghanistan. She just couldn't get upset at leaving her son in a "cushy" dorm 4 hours from home when she pictured the alternative of him heading to a desert battlefield. </p>

<p>Doesn't make you miss her less, but does put it in perspective!</p>

<p>You know what helped me? Today I went to visit a friend who is a young mom. She has a 2 1/2 year old and a 5 month old. Chaos. The 2 1/2 yr. old thought it would be funny to spit in my face. The baby was fussy. The 2 1/2 yr. old wanted to play in the backyard, but she insisted that Mommy come, too. It was 95 degrees and humid. By the time I left, I was feeling pretty good about my soon-to-be empty nester status. :)</p>

<p>
[quote]
Nonetheless, each of our kids were so ornery by departure time that the family motto became 'Don't let the door hit you in the behind on your way out!'. And the siblings on the other end of the bickering heard 'She/he will be gone soon!'

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Oh, boy, mominva, I hear you on that one! I think it must be a lot harder for parents whose kids stay nice till the end.</p>

<p>I'm getting a bit nervous myself, oldest D is heading off and I won't see her again until Christmas. I am taking her to school to settle her in but I am not looking forward to leaving her. I just watched College Road trip with the 11 yr old and bawled my eyes out. There was a very touching scene where the parents say goodbye to the daughter at the door of her dorm. It was just so realistic I couldn't help myself. The 11 yr old laughed at me because he thought I was joking around then he looked at me very seriously and said, "Mom, stop crying! This is going to be you in a few weeks" :O</p>

<p>" Did anyone do anything special to send their child off or to commemorate their last days?"</p>

<p>we had a very low key dinner the night before my son left for school. I went to his favorite Indian restaurant and bought take out. He invited a few friends that were still close to home (my son's school didn't start til late September so many people had already left for school). I think we had 7 people for dinner. People thought I was crazy to have a dinner party the night before he left but it was really delightful. And it forced us both to have everything ready to go so we could just sit down and enjoy that last evening together. </p>

<p>Busymom, you will get through this. I tend to be very emotional, cry easily. I did cry a lot in those last weeks before DS left for college. But you too will get through this. And you can join us here on CC when it feels difficult or frustrating and also to celebrate the joy of seeing your child become an accomplished adult.</p>