I Have a Kid Home From College: Here’s What I’ve Learned the First 3 Days

I have a kid home from college for the very first time. It’s been 3 days. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. The Freshman Fifteen is a real thing. Unfortunately, there’s a little known Freshman Fifteen sub-clause which states that if the freshman neglects to gain it herself, her mother has to do it for her, which I have dutifully done. (NOTE: She and I are not finished discussing the importance of her doing her own work in the future.)

2. Be grateful for ANY AND ALL COMMUNICATION, no matter how pathetic. Listen; she’s been away and on her own for several months. She’s used to doing what she wants when she wants to do it. She’s been putting up with your constant, helpful texts, reminding her, for example, NEVER TO DO CRACK. Now’s your chance to pay her back for her patience by not losing your ever-loving crap when you ask her for information and she says “unknown.”

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3. Set clear, but reasonable rules like NO DYING and NO GOING MISSING. 

 

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She will agree because you are being reasonable, and then — BONUS — you get to punish her if she ever does die or goes missing.

4. Admit when you’re being a freaking freaker who freaks. Like when you wake up gasping and sweating at 1:15am and wondering where the hell your kid — who told you she would be at “unknown” with “unknown” — is.

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5. Do not correct her grammar, even when she uses your instead of you’re. It’s petty and not worth it, and she’s a grown-up and can use the wrong form if she wants. Besides, 20 years from now, your and you’re will be interchangeable. Language is evolutionary, after all; it’s supposed to shift, and this is how it happens. IT’S OK.

6. Be open to learning new things; even if the new things are things you maybe should have known all along.

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And 7. When your kid ultimately responds with the inevitable, disdainful OMG, retaliate with that grammar thing.

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Sure, it’s totally immature, but it FEELS SO GOOD, and, as Debby Boone always says, it can’t be wrong when it feels so right. (That kid, though; she lights up my life.)

Sincerely yours,

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P.S. I COULD HAVE BEEN TRACKING HER ALL ALONG. Why is there no one guiding me through this mom thing?? I am clearly ill equipped to be making this up on my own. :/

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
9 comments
  1. Also, we can track them??? Does that work on all phones? Or just IPhones? I have an android but my kid has an IPhone.

  2. OMG we are twins. LOL When my daughter was 12 she was “in like” with a much older (too too old) boy and she didn’t tell me because she knew I would freak out. It was reported to me that she was kissing him by the ferris wheel at the carnival and we had a long talk because she really loves when we have long talks and I like to make her happy. OK, maybe that was a tiny bit sarcastic… Anyway, during our long talk, I told her, “You have to tell me where you are and who you’re with because if you don’t do that and he kidnaps you, I won’t be able to tell the police where to start looking.” I also told her, “you have to always tell me the truth – even if I’m not going to like it. Even if I might freak out. Really, what am I going to do to you if I don’t like it? I’m not going to kill you because then I would miss you. So just always tell me the truth.” Apparently my long talk worked, because after that she kept me informed of everything. EVERYTHING. Sometimes way TMI. But I’m glad she does.

  3. Open find my friends. Set the numbers you want to track. Accept on their phones. Their knowledge of this part is up to you.
    Now you will always have an exact address for each person you link to you. Also, don’t leave the app open unless you use it. It’s a battery muncher.

    1. Is this only for iphones?

  4. You’re (see what I did there?) the best mom ever! Welcome home Abby.

  5. I heart this. And yes, my husband and I track each other and it has saved our marriage many times over just in the sheer amount of WHERE ARE YOU??? texts that were avoided by looking at the map and going “Oh. There (S)he is.”

  6. One of my all time favorite photos of me and my mom was taken the morning after I came home for winter break during my freshman year in college. Me in her old robe, her in a new sweater, heads together and beaming in the kitchen. So happy for you both to be together!

  7. Wait there’s a tracking appy thingy? I need that! My home from college kid isn’t here to show me. She’s out and not answering when I, who believe your texting advice is quite sound, have texted her, “location?” several times with no response.

  8. My girl is home from college too (from another continent even)… as I type she is in the kitchen baking cookies, wearing the apron her Grandmother bought her when she was 9, has music on full blast…and I am sooooo happy to have her here! Blessings on you and yours– Merry Christmas!

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