Friday, October 9, 2009

Three Weeks and Counting

The summer between her sophomore and junior years of high school, our daughter, Emily, went to China for three weeks. Today, at 3 weeks plus one day since she left for college, it is officially her longest absence from our home. She called last night and I reminded her of this fact. She did not seem to find it quite as compelling as I did. However, I must admit that while I am poignantly aware of her absence, I am not bereft. At freshman orientation during the summer, I attended an evening seminar led by a UCSB psychology professor. The topic was parental separation anxiety and how we could better cope with our children's pending departure. The speaker painted a portrait of completely incapacitated parents, pacing their empty home like Mrs. Haversham, awaiting the return of our loved ones. I somewhat smugly admitted to myself that I was not anticipating this kind of reaction, that I felt ready for my daughter to begin this journey. As the speaker droned on and on about our forthcoming loss, my resolve softened. Was I fooling myself? Would I, too, find myself devastated by her departure and never find meaningful life experience to fill the vacuum that her absence had created? Intellectually, I felt I had the coping skills to effectively manage this dramatic change in our family dynamic. Emotionally, I began to worry. But, today, as I find myself at this milestone, I have to admit that I am doing just fine. Our goal for each of our three children has always been to prepare them for a successful transition to college life and the opportunities that would ensue. Thus far, we are one for three, and counting. So rather than wringing my hands in despair, I am patting myself on the back for that which we have so far done right.


  1. If I might be so bold as to correct your math, you are batting 1.000, one for one. Your second and third times at the plate will come in later innings. If you lay off the high hard one, you should do all right.

  2. Sean is also at UCSB, we had similar trepidations, but he has proven to be even more mature than we had hoped for (maybe its the extra breathing room he gets being 500+ miles away!) I've always felt that the kids will all do well in spite of our efforts!