, Salem, MA


September 23, 2013

Column: College sendoffs get easier

There’s nothing like a college drop-off to shake parents loose from our foundations, no matter how prepared we think we are!

That’s how I felt two years ago when my firstborn’s leaving for college happened to coincide with the approaching of Hurricane Irene, which proved to be a pretty significant storm. At that time, I wrote about parents sending kids off: “We hate to see them go, but it’s our job to let them go. So we endure the hurricane — the whipping of the wind, the pounding of the rain. Our hearts ache with the strain, but we stay hopeful. We ride out the storm and, if necessary, we’re there to pick up the pieces. At the same time, our worlds have changed, too, and we need to make things right for ourselves — a whole other challenge.”

As a sequel to that story, the week after dropping my daughter off at college, my husband and I received a call telling us we needed to bring her home to ride out the hurricane until the college was reopened — a serendipitous, weeklong gift of extra time with her! In an instant, I went from grief-stricken to gleeful — until it dawned on me that it meant doing that painful send-off all over again!

At that time, I wrote: “Since our children were babies, we’ve tried to help make life work out right for them. Some call it helicoptering; we just call it loving.”

The truth is, that summer before my daughter started her freshman year, I wasn’t just a loving helicopter parent; I was a rescue helicopter parent with searchlights beaming down, asserting my mom influence and authority. (As most moms know, this doesn’t go over well!) I gathered up every item she could possibly need for college, including a wall calendar with family photos (so she wouldn’t forget us), notepaper and stamps for writing home, and even a small kite.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate