No. of Recommendations: 2
Hi, the son I wrote about several years ago grew up and became a decent person. He was accepted to college and will be leaving this fall, about 4 1/2 hours away.

Any ideas for love/support at a distance? My goal will not to be to call and text and hover, and to let him gain some independence, but to let him know that we are thinking of him, especially those early weeks when he might indeed be homesick.

I can only go by my experience of the last semester when Eldest headed off to college. I was rather stunned by how much I missed him. We have spent all his life grooming him to be independent and I believe we did a very good job. Don't think he missed us much at all, and is thriving at college. I guess I should have done more prep work on myself. Sometimes the knowledge you did your job right isn't all it's cracked up to be. Support for your son is important, but don't neglect yourself.

We have insisted on once a week phone calls. We text from time to time on the rest of the stuff, but he must call us once a week. He knows we insist on this not because we do not trust him, but because he is our child and we miss him terribly and are interested in having a bare minimum of participation in his life. Our needs are not unimportant, and I think at the same time our insisting that he understand and give the barest of nods to our needs helps him to realize how loved he is and how much he matters to us. We have an agreed upon day and time and keep it free or set up a different appointment if life gets in the way.

We pretty much let him simply experience college life for the first semester, insisting he track his expenses so that we could look at spending habits over break. He spends his own money, we do not provide any, having already provided tuition, room and board and any educational expenses. It was a shock to him when he realized how much he spent and how much that run for chips and soda adds up, even though he has an unlimited meal ticked at food services. I call that economics 101, and we are hoping that he can adhere to the budget he set for himself for the Spring, which will require him to deprive himself from time to time when friends go snacking. If not he will run out of money, and that will be yet another lesson.

We sent a care package at midterms and finals. He is too far away to come back even for Thanksgiving, which he spent with a local friend, so we did not get to see him all semester. I thought I was doing better this semester, but today is his 18th birthday and I don't get to spend it with him. I wouldn't have thought twice about driving down to take him out to dinner if he were only 4 1/2 hours away. Heck, with driving to and from the airport it would take us about that much time to fly there, which is a near impossible task given the rest of the family.

We were fortunate that Eldest did beautifully in adapting to college life. He was not at all social before this, so we were concerned. Because he was going to a college a 14 hour drive from home, the whole family went down with him to drop him off. We made a vacation of it with DH and Youngest exploring the city while Eldest and I did orientation, when he got to move right into his room. DH, Youngest and I stayed at a vacation rental for a few days after that, allowing Eldest the option of hanging out at school or joining us at the rental. He did choose to join us for a day, because most of the other kids were with their families as well. I get the impression that the slower transition, with us there as a safety net, really helped him have the confidence he needed to bloom. I can't begin to tell you how much he grew up this semester. Can't tell you how much we grew. Couldn't do this if he did not love where he is going. It is tough to be a distant spectator to your child becoming a man.

Heh. Wonder when I am going to grow up.

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