Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Long Distance Love

My son leaves for college in 5 days. And although I'm filled with lots of ambivalence and dread about this next step, I'm trying to look on the positive side. I just figured out something that I'm looking forward to about him being gone. Care packages. Or, as I like to call it - an opportunity for me to show my love and make my son happy.

Now, before you start gagging on the shovel-full of sugar I just force-fed you, allow me to explain. When my kids were l'il babes, only I could make them happy, usually by allowing them to hang on my body or scream in my ears. There were days, when I felt like my body was not my own and I longed for touch-free zones, like my office at work, the car or the laundry room. As they grew, my body became my own, but I could still make them happy with Happy Meals, a new Disney movie or an ice cream cone. Now that they're teens, there seems to be little I can do to make them happy. Sure, they're momentarily happy, but they quickly forget who's responsible for that fridge full of their favorite soda. Basically, I'm at the point in my maternal career where I'm getting none of the credit and all of the blame.

Suddenly, there's an opportunity, at least in my mind, to turn that around. I've got this kid who is about to move 6 hours away from me. He'll have shelter, food and friends, but it's the little things that will soon be missed. The cabinet with favorite snack food. The clean laundry that magically appears in his dresser. The home cooked meals.

So as I walk around my kitchen, I see things that I know that he loves and I make a mental note of them: Fresh cheese curds (if you're not from Wisconsin, don't ask), A&W Root Beer, homemade cheese quesadillas, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, my homemade chocolate chip cookies....the list goes on.

In my feeble, June Cleaver-inspired mind, I imagine packing up some of these "treats" and sending them to my first college kid. I envision his look of happiness of glee and his sigh when he thinks about what a great mom I am. I hear his excited voice when he calls home and says: "Gee Mom, that was so cool. I love you!" God, I live for this.


Now for reality. I will, for the first few months, religiously send him care packages. He will open them with anticipation, rip them apart, hopefully share them with his roommate and definitely miss the sweet note that I will enclose with the goodies. (And if there's anything perishable, he will forget to open the package for at least a week.) If I'm lucky, I'll get a phone call or an e-mail thanking me for the package and then asking when he can have more money and where did I put his grey sweatshirt. Very quickly, I will be back to no credit/all blame.

It's all OK, because there's no script here. Much like new parenthood, we're just making it up as we go along. He might surprise me and I might surprise him. And, I'm sage enough to realize that it takes years for kids to truly be thankful for their parents. Sometimes it doesn't happen till they have kids of their own. I'm a class example of that.

One of the few things that I do remember about my college years is that I learned to appreciate home and all the things that means. I'm about to find out if that lesson will get passed on to the next generation.


At 10:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just popping in to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog.

At 6:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very moving post. It resonates with me as I too am getting ready to send my oldest off to college.

At 11:06 AM , Blogger Yseye said...

My oldest son is a senior in high school this year and I feel the separation coming. I am deep into the all blame/no credit with a 17.5 and a 15.5 year old. (Plus the husband). I will be up for sainthood ... if I don't strangle anyone! ~ Yvonne


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