Friday, November 5, 2010

An Emotional Adjustment

It's been a long and emotionally draining month since I've last updated. And honestly, it feels a lot longer. Adjusting to having Katie away at college has been more difficult than I would have thought - and not in the ways I was expecting. Getting used to her being gone actually happened within the first couple of weeks. The more difficult part for me has been helping her through the normal ups and downs of her adjustment while being so far away. Let me start by saying that Katie is doing amazingly well. She is happy at the college she chose, she has made lots of friends, has joined a few organizations and has jumped into them with both feet. No surprise there! She has handled all the little "problems" that have crept up with maturity, grace and a sense of responsibility. I couldn't be prouder.

So why has it been so emotionally draining? Because I can't stop worrying and obsessing about all those little "problems" that creep up. When she calls to talk to me about them (for which I am eternally grateful. And Katie, if you are reading this, please do not think I don't want you to continue to share your ups and downs with me), I then worry about whatever it is that is going on. It is so hard not to see her every day so that I can gauge by her demeanor, attitude, or by simply asking her how it's going. And, of course, the next time we talk/text everything has worked out and the problem is long over. But, I've still been thinking about it. To be fair, I figured this out fairly quickly and it's not so much of a problem now but it has contributed to this feeling of being completely drained and overwhelmed.

It didn't help that during one of the most trying times, Geoff was away on business for TWO WEEKS - in Europe. So while we did talk on the phone a few times, I couldn't really get into the whole emotional mess during a transatlantic phone call. Those were a difficult two weeks.

Thankfully, I am beginning to feel a whole lot better. I think I have a handle on all of this and as Katie moves forward in her first semester at college, there are fewer and fewer adjustments to be made. And she truly is handling everything so well, that I really don't have anything to worry about. It just took a little while to get to this point. What I've learned from all of this is that it's not only the students who have to adjust to college life. Parents do, too. And in ways I wasn't expecting.


Jenna said...

Pam I'm so glad you're posting again!
You remind me so much of my mom...and reading this post has made me feel so greatful that she was there for me like you're there for Katie.
I remember calling her once, right after I moved to England, and telling her that I wanted to come home. She was just so supportive, and knew exactly what to say to make me feel better. All the while, I know she just wanted to say "Come home! I'm too worried about you!" But she didn't. She let me grow, and change...and spread my wings. (ick, I'm getting sappy now!)
Anyway, bottom line: You're doing an awesome job of being a supportive Mom.

Anita said...

Pam I've been wondering where you've been. I've been MIA too, sadly.
I know this has been a major adjustment, and who knew what direction it was going to take. I am so happy to see you post about it and share your experiences, I'll be looking to you for support next year.
I wish I were there so we could share a drink and share book recommendations at B&N again!

Terra said...

HI! Thank you for sharing this. A lot of put others problems in the front of our lives and dwell, and worry and can suck the life out of you from time to time - however I also think is part of what makes us who we are and I like who you are.

LindyLouMac said...

I was so sorry to read that you have been having such a tough time adjusting to this new phase in your life. I was wondering how you were getting on. It all sounds so familiar although a good few years ago now as our girls are 26 and 30. Try not to worry so much, optimism is needed, it will get easier for you both, Mum and daughter. Take Care.

Sue Jackson said...

Pam -

I was wondering where you've been lately. Sorry to hear you've had such an emotionally draining month. I haven't been through it myself yet, but I certainly understand what you're talking about. It's so wonderful that your daughter is close to you and feels comfortable telling you her problems. And great to hear that she's adjusting well and enjoying college so far! It's fast approaching for my oldest son.


MissKris said...

I was wondering where you'd disappeared to. In all actuality, life is one continuing adjustment. It never stands still, that's for sure. And we never know how we're going to react emotionally until we get there. Just wait until they get married and you adjust to a new person in the family structure.

Star Forbis said...

The Blogosphere has missed you!

Thanks for sharing through the process for all of us moms. Weather our kids know it or not, they never go through anything alone! Hoping things continue to get better.

Karen Peterson said...

We've sure missed you, but I totally understand the business and all that you've been managing. I'm glad Katie is doing well and I'm sure it helps her knowing that her mom cares so much.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Oh, sorry I'm seeing this so late. Yes, it is tough on the mom. We have too much of our heart in there. I understand the ups and downs as my youngest has gone through the same thing. He finally had a visit home a week ago for Fall Break so saw him for the first time since August. Seemed that touching of base and an exchanged hug was good for both us. Much smoother sailing right now.

Allow yourself the grief, Pam. You deserve it.

Kristy said...

I think it all sounds very normal what you are thinking and feeling so do not judge yourself harshly. I am not in the same part of my life right now, my boy is a little guy. I can't imagine how hard it will be - bittersweet - to see him go off on his own!

Annie said...

I am very happy I had the opportunity to read this. Reading it was like wringing out my own heart. I think, as mothers, we never are completely free of these worries and the emotional drain they are capable of inflicting. The children mature and they become more able but the thread of protectiveness that holds us to our children never quite snaps. The two of you are very lucky to have each other, she to have a mother she trusts and you to have a daughter willing to share her life with you even from a distance.


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