Friday, October 17, 2008

Can College Kids Communicate with Mom?

My friend commented that she was up late last night, into the wee hours of the morning, unable to sleep because her daughter had not yet returned home for the evening. Her daughter is in college, but living at home. I know just how she feels. I never liked when my kids were out with the car. My mind wandered to dark "what-ifs"--and being a writer, my imagination really could take me places.

Throughout high school, I had the kids call when they arrived at their destination, then call me again before they left. That way I reduced my window of panic to the times they were actually on the road. Even when Kate was in college, I appreciated her calls that she was back in her dorm safe and sound. We kept in touch often, and I generally knew what she planned on doing on the weekend, who she'd be with, and sometimes even what she'd be wearing. That's just the way we've always been, sharing comfortably about our lives.

But my son Andy is not at all the same! He's away at college now, and when I ask him any questions he becomes frustratingly vague.
Who are your friends? "Guys in the dorm. On the baseball team."
What did you do last night? "Hung out."
What class do you like best? "They're all bad."

Even a young 20-something friend of Kate's tried to get some information out of Andy when they met last weekend. After attempting several direct questions and getting nothing but vague answers, the guy shrugged, looked at me and said, "He's a tough nut."

Of course, each kid is different. The way that works in communicating with the first may not work with the second. I'd love Andy to tell me as much about his life as his sister. I'd love to be more aware of what he's thinking and feeling. But I'll take the little victories, like the other day when he called to tell me it was sports bar night in the dining hall, and how many mozzarella sticks he could cram into his mouth at once. Try as I may, I can't change him. I have to adapt. It's my job. I'm the mom.

Tail's End: This has nothing to do with the blog today. But if you are in the New York Capital District listening area, tune into WGY-810 News Talk Radio this Sunday at 8:15am, to hear my interview with Joe Gallagher. We'll be talking about my story in the new book, The Ultimate dog Lover. Thanks!

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