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Old 08-16-2008, 03:35 PM
 
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My best friend will be returning to Charlotte tonight after taking her son (the baby!) to college. She has had a difficult week just thinking about it. Any suggestions on how I can help her through this? Luckily, I have two more years before my baby (the only!) leaves the nest - I am already trying to prepare myself!
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Old 08-16-2008, 04:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotteborn View Post
My best friend will be returning to Charlotte tonight after taking her son (the baby!) to college. She has had a difficult week just thinking about it. Any suggestions on how I can help her through this? Luckily, I have two more years before my baby (the only!) leaves the nest - I am already trying to prepare myself!
1. It's great that her child has chosen to go to college. These days, many kids with the opportunity to go to college choose not to. I don't understand that at all. She should feel proud that her son has decided to take charge of his future!

2. Having a child leave for college is much better than having a child that never leaves at all! I've know couples with kids that live with them into their late twenties/early thirties for no good reason.

3. Don't worry. Yes, your child will do many stupid, childish, immoral things while away. Don't ask. You don't want to know. 99.99% of the time, no permanent damage will occur. Your child will still love you, you'll still love the kid.

4. Thankfully, there are more ways to stay in touch than ever. Email, IM, cell phones, & text messaging are easy ways to send a "Have a good day, I love you" message and get a "Yes Mom, I'm still alive" back.
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Old 08-16-2008, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
7,041 posts, read 13,102,313 times
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Several years ago now, my son left my home in Charlotte, NC for Keele University in Staffordshire, England. I thought that I would die of lonliness. My son was (and still is) my best friend. As a single mom, we did everything together. But, I wanted what was best for him. It was too expensive for him to come home for holidays or summers, so, the first couple of years, he was there pretty much permanantly.

One of my employers during that crucial first year (I was working 3 jobs at the time) saw my general unhappiness and offered to pay my way to go to see him. That was what really made the difference. This was before web cams and digital cameras, so, now I could physically see where he was livng and meet his friends and spend a lot of time on the campus. So, when he would call or I would call him, I could visualize where he was.

He stayed in England for three years and it was the best thing that he could ever have done. He grew up immensely and "found himself". It also taught mom to survive without him. probably a healthy thing for us both!

Hope that your friend can realize how special this time is for her child and never convey to him how distraught that she is. This is a rite of passage that will benefit them both, and, like the other poster has already stated, she needs to be grateful that he is even going!!
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:27 AM
 
Location: Charlotte. Or Detroit.
1,455 posts, read 3,642,637 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotteborn View Post
My best friend will be returning to Charlotte tonight after taking her son (the baby!) to college. She has had a difficult week just thinking about it. Any suggestions on how I can help her through this?
Beer?
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:17 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 66,998,726 times
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Unlike many parents, we would have kept our boys home forever, LOL. Having them leave home was awful . . . and a big adjustment. Luckily, they stayed in good touch. Our "baby" IM's me daily . . . and he or his g/f call us every few days. We love hearing what is going on in their lives and they don't resent checking in and sharing things w/ us.

Your friend is gonna go thru/ a period of real sadness. It is hard to see them leave, even tho we all know our responsibility as parents is to help them learn to fly and leave the nest. This is just another step towards their becoming adults and good citizens of the world. But wow . . . when you truly enjoy their presence . . . it leaves a big hole. You friend is gonna be at lose ends for a while - maybe months. Not all of us are so defined by the role of "parent," but some of us are . . . and when a person is wrapped up in being "John's mom" - the transition to less involvement in your child's life is not easy. Hopefully, having wonderful friends and activities to immerse one's self in will help keep minds off the empty room at home . . .

Raising children is a journey for parents, as well. This is a passage of growth for mom and dad, too. Our roles evolve. Whereas we were teacher and mentor and guardian, now our kids are growing into adults - and the best spot to be is "trusted advisor." This way, your kids will turn to you and request your involvement in their lives. But dear me, it is not easy. They have to make some mistakes in order to learn how to navigate the world . . . but if they know they have you in the background, cheering them own . . . it works for everyone in a positive way.

So check in w/ your friend . . . let her talk about how strange things feel at home w/o her son there . . . guide her to some new activities if she is interested . . . and help her see this as part of her own journey - not just her son's. Plan some time for you all to get out and enjoy some "girl time," doing something special as friends.

I know this is gonna sound wacky, but even tho my son had not ridden a school bus in years, the first few weeks when he was off to college, every time I heard the school bus in the evenings, I just burst into tears, b/c I knew he was not coming thru/ that door after school!!!! Crazy, I know. So be aware that your friend may go thru/ all sorts of strange feelings that suddenly well up b/c of small realizations throughout the day that will say to her - son is not gonna be here tonite. Even doing the laundry made me sad, Hee Hee Hee.

Now, not everyone is gonna feel this way . . . maybe I am an extreme case!!!! Getting calls and emails from my friends helped tremendously. Just be a good listener and let your friend know that even if she feels she is over-emotional, it is normal to feel some displacement when kids leave the nest!
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:27 AM
 
40 posts, read 117,720 times
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^ advice post of the year!
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Old 08-17-2008, 01:43 PM
 
1,343 posts, read 2,913,511 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotteborn View Post
Any suggestions on how I can help her through this?
I would refer her to a forum devoted to this very topic where people obsess on it constantly.

can I post this link? Not really a competitor...

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