"Letting go"





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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: "Letting go"
By Patient (Patient) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 10:43 pm: Edit

I was just in the bookstore browsing with my daughter and there was a college section, with a book entitled "Letting Go"--subtitled as a guide for parents whose children are leaving for college. I sat down with it to read the introduction and started getting all teary-eyed. Sigh--I can tell I'm all primed for departure day!

Has anyone read the book? Thoughts? (didn't buy it)

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 10:50 pm: Edit

Aw, Patient. I have that book, haven't read the whole thing. It has some valuable stories from parents in it. However, the basic philosophy is not one I agree with, and many others believe we need not to think so much of "letting go" as of moving forward to a new kind of relationship (a prospect that leaves most of us less teary). A couple of folks from Cornell wrote an excellent book, with lots of input from families, to that effect: http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/2000/B/200001569.html

By Patient (Patient) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 10:59 pm: Edit

Thanks for the additional book tip, Aparent4. Judging from my reaction to just picking up the darn book, I think I had better steer clear of them for a while, I seemed to be doing just fine until I picked that one up!

I think the school has a few sessions for parents on move-in day. I guess I had better bring Kleenex. (I brought gobs to graduation but never had to use them...)

By Arizonamom (Arizonamom) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 11:07 pm: Edit

A friend of mine gave it to me a year ago. I put it aside but picked it up again a week before my S left. I skimmed some of it and read some carefully. It is helpful and a good one to pass around or have in the school library. My H read it also but said it didn't diminish the pain but still made sense.

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 11:27 pm: Edit

Yeah, Patient, I've had that book for several years. Got it for Son #1 I believe. You know what choked me up at the Smith drop-off? The booming organ as we walked into the president's address. Wow, education as religion, almost. And then when they had us all sing the alma mater in Latin! It sounded so impressive, there must have been lots of alums dropping their daughters off, because I know OUR group wasn't contributing to the glorious effect. Our official goodbye was only slightly teary. Then, the next day, after my husband and I had hiked around the campus (I'd never seen it since I didn't go on the scouting expeditions) we were preparing to enter the Smith College Museum of Art when my husband said, "Hey, there's our daughter." She was standing at the cross walk on the other side of the street. Now I really think my husband would have been willing to duck into the museum and leave her in peace, but to me, this coincidence meant we were supposed to see her. So we went down the steps and when she saw us her first words were, "How long have you been standing there?" Like she suspected we were waiting to pounce on her! We exchanged a few sentences about which math class she should take and then it was "Seeya." No embarrassing sidewalk embraces. We didn't even touch! That sounds really cold but she had really made it clear she didn't want to do a lot of repeated dramatic goodbyes and seemed eager for us to take the college president's advice to "Go away!" By the way, I loved the president's line that her own daughter had chosen to attend Mount Holyoke. "I guess she felt we needed a river between us," was the way she put it. Did me good to hear that. Feeling so great about the Smith tradition of supporting young women, I was really wishing I'D gone there myself, but then, if I had, you can bet my daughter wouldn't be getting in on it, so there you go....

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 06, 2004 - 11:30 pm: Edit

I bought the book last year, read some of it, didn't relate.
Now my daughter left last week. Picked up the book. I can relate and like it.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 12:43 am: Edit

Good story Enjoying. Do you think Hs are more adept at "letting go"?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 01:18 am: Edit

No.

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 02:05 am: Edit

Not the dads on this board anyway ha ha! I don't really think it's a gender thing. My husband is just a calm, happy person who goes along satisfied with the status quo. I was the one freaking out when we couldn't get pregnant. If we hadn't had kids, I think he would have been fine. But when we did, he turned into a first class dad, soccer coach etc. truly, in my view, the perfect level of involvement without smothering. Now they're growing up and I expect my husband to continue being happy. If I start getting morose about all this, he's right there to remind me this is the way it's supposed to be. And no, kids going to college is not death. Death is when you can't e-mail them. I'm not unsympathetic to people who are having trouble with this, but to liken it to death....well, can you imagine what a parent who has actually lost a child to death would think hearing that used as a metaphor for going to college?

After reading this thread earlier, I got out the book, Letting Go, again. Now that we've just enacted the scenes of unloading at the dorm etc. that she describes, I'm appreciating it more. It always helps me to realize that we're feeling and going through is pretty much just par for the course.

Hey, I do have to say that I'm noticing it's awfully quiet around here tonight! For those of you who've lost track of our particular story, we just shipped off twins, so the effect was a bit more dramatic. Mostly I'm just having to remember that there's nobody out who needs the porchlight left on etc.

By Cherisue (Cherisue) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 04:16 am: Edit

I bought this book spring before my son left for college last year and found it semi helpful. Throughout the school year as things came up, I would refer back to Letting Go and enjoyed it immensely and it was endlessly helpful. Many situations we encountered in our lives was in this book! It is more of a reference book to be read over time than at a single sitting.

Move-in day at STanford is a tear jerker - the speeches and especially the Convocation require kleenex!

By Cheers (Cheers) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 04:20 am: Edit

...There's nobody out there....

My dear friend lost her beloved larger-than-life Irish American bloke to cancer last year. Suddenly, after 25 years of raising 4 noisy children with a really noisy man, her life is still. She has all the time in the world to exercise and have lunch with her friends. (The Four: 1 getting MBA, 1 in Peace Corps, 1 in Law School, 1 college freshman).

Be careful what you wish for, she told me. Indeed.

I still have S2, aka Mr. Huggable, Mr "Hi ya Cutes!", at home for another two years. Even though he is a revolting fifteen--going at a snail's pace to sixteen--I'm not ready for "nobody" out there yet.

Big hug to you E!

By Songman (Songman) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 08:46 am: Edit

So my son was offered pot and a corona with lime the first night of his college experience. So we are off to a good start.

So we got home after dropping him off and my daughter was at a sleepover, the cat was out, the dog was at the kennel and my wife entered the house looked around and broke into tears.

The next day when I was fixing things around the house, I was thinking about all the people that have lost a child to illness or worse kidnapping,etc. I thought about how much grief they must be going through and that at least my son is with us and is going off on a new adventure. Somehow it helped me through it all....

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 09:12 am: Edit

Songman, it sounds like a pretty typical occurrence for "frosh" week. I wouldn't worry too much, at least he told you about it. :)

To echo the others who mentioned the comparison to death, please be thankful that you're not experiencing that this week instead of just launching your children into another phase of their lives. As I mentioned in another thread, a friend of my D's died suddenly last week after just returning to school for his sophomore year. I found out last night that another NYU student jumped to her death on the weekend. So very sad.

By Kathiep (Kathiep) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 10:52 am: Edit

I bought "Letting Go" the Spring before my daughter started college. I thought it was a well written book. It seemed to take an honest and frank approach at many things that can and do happen throughout the college experience.

Speaking of new experiences, my husband just told me something that happened to him almost 30 years ago when he was a new Freshman in college at the University of Delaware. As he was walking up to his dorm room for the first time, there was a note from his roommate (whom he had never met) taped to the door, "Bob, went out to get a case of beer. Be back soon." Right behind my husband with their arms full of boxes were his parents - who don't drink. My husband quickly dropped the boxes he was carrying and ripped the sign from the door before the parents could read it. He says now he wished he had saved it. What a classic!

By Patient (Patient) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 12:31 pm: Edit

By the way, what got to me was the passage in the beginning to the effect of, "You have been preparing for this day since your child's first day of nursery school." Of course, that brought flooding back, all the memories of sweet toddlerhood, soft arms around me, silliness, singing together...you get the idea. Snapping back to the present, the college actually puts out a very good parents' guide which may be all I need....

Cherisue, thanks for the heads up about the convocation et al. I hear that move-in itself is memorable and the helper-upperclassmen already know the kids by name via their pictures so greet them by name upon arrival, etc.?

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 04:04 pm: Edit

Patient--- yeah, the toddler memories are what can tear me up, but you know what? Those toddlers are gone and grown whether they check into dorm room or not! I guess this just forces us to think about it. Still, my attitude is, I've enjoyed it all thoroughly, and now I want to enjoy thoroughly what comes next! As Cheers reminded us, be careful what you wish for. She was talking about wishing for your nest to be quieter and having more space, but now we've reached the point where being careful what we wish for means not to wish they weren't going away. We don't want to get our wish by finding find these kids dragging home in defeat, do we?

Hey, is anybody else thinking about a personal get fit weight loss program? I can't complain I didn't have time to exercise, but I am hoping that not having the house stocked for teenage eating machines might make my environment a bit "safer."

By Cheers (Cheers) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 04:35 pm: Edit

Songman, aren't you fortunate that your S wants your friendship and tells you these good stories? The trick is to find an equally amusing story when you w ant to get your point across!

E--After S went away on GAP year in January, I cleared the house of 'white' carbs. Along with my regular gym and hiking program, I lost 15 pounds easily....

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 06:01 pm: Edit

Lost 15 pounds easily? Is there an envy icon available?!!!

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 06:07 pm: Edit

Cheers:

Those 15lbs you lost are going to reappear on your S as the freshman 15!


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