I’ve adjusted fairly well these early months of having my first child away at university. To be honest, although the drop off on move-in day did make me cry (accompanied by the longest hug ever), I’ve only had the occasional sleepless night thinking of possible stresses and his anxiety during mid-terms. I miss the daily routine of yelling at him to get out of bed, and then our regular 5-minute convo before school drop off – (yes, he was spoiled with door to door service, more about why that became a “thing” later).
I have resisted the urge to text him every day, sometimes going even a couple days without. My husband has picked up that slack though … turns out Dad is missing his boy a whole lot more than anticipated. So technically I know what’s going on daily. Texts from me or his Dad can languish unanswered for days! Apparently, a text sent from my son to either one of us counts as a text to both. Hilarious the way he thinks… but he’s actually not far off. I guess his dad and I have this team thing going pretty well.
I haven’t written much about the G and her transition from younger sibling to the only kid holding up the fort at home. Although almost 5 years apart, and leading what on the surface are very separate lives – my boy and girl are incredibly close. This is why our family vacations are precious – it’s the time when they are in their sibling bubble and they share laughs and experiences both with us and on their own. With their differing school schedule this year, my heart is already hurting that those days are over for the next several years.
G has been dealing with her own shift as a teen moving into high school. She is doing an amazing job, she’s got great friends and her marks are good… we are so pleased given her bouts of anxiety and her previous record of missing an average of 40-50 days of school a year for the last few (yes, a lot missed for “I don’t know why”). We’ve had her meet with counselors over the years, and she’s had wonderful elementary school teachers yet still, we were anxious about her transition. So far so good – she appears to be keeping whatever stresses at bay such that she looks forward to school every day! I have to believe that the stability of me being at home and not traveling across the pond 4 or 5 times a year is helping.
But how is she coping with missing her big brother? For starters she’s raided his closet – she swims in anything of his as he’s a hulking XL at six foot 2, and she’s a slim XS ladies …but she’s in one of his hoodies, sweatshirts, flannel checked tops and even his Vans socks, every day! She’s too lazy to text him a lot (self -admittedly) but he always responds whenever she sends him something.
My son needed his winter coat and boots, and my husband suggested that I take them up to him for a mother/son day. We can feel the stress in his recent texts, things are a lot tougher for him than he thought they would be and we need to support him somehow. University is such a big step, and we’ve been doing research about support services there … the specter of anxiety and depression is always there and we’re aware of some suicides that have taken place in some of the schools already. Although my boy seems pretty well adjusted the stakes are really high for him this year. We felt a visit would be good… and my husband was heading out for a work trip to Europe so we agreed I would go solo.
I asked G if she wanted to come with me but she decided to stay home until there was a better time for her. She did give me a care package for me bring. She wrote out 25 slips of paper and put in a coin bank for him. She included instructions that when he is stressed or needs a break, he just has to reach into the bank and follow the directions on the paper he pulls. I don’t know what she included, but I suspect things like “have a chocolate bar” … “take a quick walk” were in the mix. I was happy to present it to him when I met him on Sunday.
When I got home after the long drive that night, I told her he liked it. She said “I know” and showed me his text.
“Thanks for the present, G – it’s so nice. I’ll use it, I miss you lots. I love you ”
Brother – sister love. Can’t get better than this.