best transition ever: grandparenting
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with Natalie caine

College orientation and good bye from college

March 4, 2009 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

By Natalie Caine |

It seems the kids biggest issue being freshmen in college, is….. will I have
good friends….their social life. How will I know who’s a jerk and who’s for
real? One student said, I almost feel disloyal to my old friends if I make deep
new connections, but I know that is ridiculous…everyone is off to college
now and starting over ….she wasn’t sure there would be enough room in her
heart for the new and the old or, deeper yet, that she would lose interest in
the old friends and feel bad about that….

She felt she had to do ever activity that was offered right away or someone
else would grab the good stuff . Worse yet, that other people would become best
friends and she would show up too late… that all the good ones would be taken….
She was getting exhausted, until she realized there is enough love to go around.
She needed to pace herself.

What if the classes are boring and I am stuck with them.. I will be so disappointed
and then I will think I chose the wrong school. As it turns out , so far, she
is thoroughly enjoying the professors and classmates… She just can’t believe
how much reading there is due in such a short amount of time.

Her room mate and she are so similar and they feel safe with each other…
She knows no one at this college and that was ok for her when she chose the
school…. Her campus is green and friendly and small… All the things that
were on her want list.

The food is good and her residential living hall is spacious and easily located…

The night before arriving on campus, she was terrified that she picked the
wrong school, that she would be lonely, that her classes wouldn’t be challenging,
that she would miss home, that she would gain weight, be tired, feel left out,
wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the responsibilities of being on her own,
and that she just wanted to go back home… I had never seen this side of her
and was glad she could feel and speak it..

Our plan to get there a day ahead and just stroll the shops in town, and meander
across the campus with no responsibilities was a great plan… As soon as we
parked the rental car and began walking the quaint streets, she got excited
at the beauty and the friendliness of the people in the shops…. Then, when
we went into her new bank, she got excited… She couldn’t believe it was a
bank…. Historical, and small, and charming…. As we were checking on the
arrival of her checks a mom said hi to me and that they were doing the same
thing… My daughter and hers struck up a conversation and seemed to like each
other…. It was her welcoming new taste of a new friend and she was not relaxed….

We drove up the street to her campus and oohd and ahdd at the lushness of the
east coast campus… Oh yes, Mom, this feels so good… I am going to love it
here… She was on her way now…

Meeting her room mate and her family, carrying three suitcases and getting
9 boxes from the post office, that we shipped, kept us busy with the many details
on our orientation list…. Then she had meetings and we the adults had separate
meetings as part of the process for the big good bye….

Despite the college recommending a quick set up, orientation, and goodbye,
so that the kids can enter their new life and the parents begin their grieving
and newness back home, my daughter and I knew our relationship was unique and
that our closeness , independence, respect and trust required a little more
time for sticking around in the area before flying 3000 miles home… So I stayed
down the street, almost like insurance, if she needed something… I told her
to call only when she wanted, that I was fine, and to do whatever she wanted..
“I am here if you need anything”.. She transitioned very well and
got involved with new friends, activities on campus, and late night talks ..
I picked her up one night and we had an early dinner to catch up and then a
breakfast before I left… I got her some cold drinks and sundries, strolled
and talked and I felt so happy that she was happy with her choice… I drove
her back to her hall, hugged her and kidded around with hugging the forest trees
near bye and with watery eyes we hugged goodbye. She opened her large grey door
that led to her dorm, waved and said see you family weekend… She thanked me
for staying and for all the details and work I had done to help her get here…
that felt good… I love you.

Rental car, four different hotels, schlepping, hellos, goodbyes, airports and
delays, rain and new highways,,,,, emotional rollercoaster and I was finally
on my way back home…

I actually feel relieved that all the preparation and details and tears of
goodbyes with her and with her friends are over… I am not missing her…..
yet. About 4 days home now, I am proud of her, and of my participation in her
educational journey and I see where all the work paid off…. I get very happy
when she calls and I also am able to easily say good bye on the phone…. It’s
a big deal, this letting go and I am doing just fine , as is she…. Lots of
support around if needed… She is so on her way now and the fun of hearing
from her thrills me. I am looking forward to the surprises that are yet to come…
Now I have free space and will explore what I want to fill it with and she has
a new land to live in…

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Natalie Caine, M.A.