can you come to austin?
i need my mom and some support right now.
I’ve been super anxious all day and i need my mom
It’s 7:12 pm on a Tuesday. It has been exactly 4 weeks since I left Daughter 1.0 at college, dropping her into a sea of khaki shorts-clad sorority sister hopefuls. 3 1/2 weeks since the panicky call of What if I don’t get a bid? I wish you had stayed in town for the week. Lots of mothers stay in town for rush week, for support. I wish I hadn’t rushed at all and spent one more week at home. 3 weeks since the I got a bid! I’m so happy! phone call. Only one week since she made an impromptu visit to Portland to visit the Boyfriend and my Husband and I got to see her for a brief 20 minutes at SFO, delivering a burrito and her high school chem and math notes. 4 days since the unexpected I can’t breathe, my whole body feels tingly, I think I’m getting a migraine call from the sorority pledge retreat. 3 days since the beaming Snapchatted pictures from the first home football game, game-day dress and cowboy boots on, burnt orange longhorn affixed to her cheek. 1 day since the morning phone call of I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’m feeling so anxious and overwhelmed and the afternoon call of I’m better, everything is fine, just had too much on my plate today.
Ok, so pop quiz:
Your 19 year old daughter texts from college that she needs you. You:
A) Get on the phone to Virgin America and book the next flight out;
B) Text back a bitmoji with some uplifting message;
C) Ignore the text altogether knowing within the hour, or at least the day, she will be feeling back on track.
I pick up the phone and call her and am greeted with a tearful mommy!
She sounds so sad and lost. I try to remember everything I’ve read about helping your child cope with Freshman homesickness. I’m pretty sure I remember reading somewhere that as a parent you should never rush to the rescue, it doesn’t give them the chance to learn that they can manage on their own. Being sad is a part of being human, right?
“Mommy I need you. Can you come next weekend? All of my friends are either going home or their parents are coming to visit. I need my mom.”
Now I know this isn’t true, not all of her friends are going home or having families come. She has made lots of friends. I point this out and hear the pitch of her voice rise, teetering near hysteria.
“Where are you?” I ask.
“In an Uber on my way back to the dorm after a house thing.” (Sorority house).
“You’re crying in an Uber?”
“My friend is here with me.”
“You’re crying in an Uber with a friend?”
“Story of my life.”
Daughter 1.0 gets back to her dorm, gets out of the Uber, says goodbye to her friend, all with me on the phone. I tell her she can do this. I tell her that she is fine. I tell her that she is not alone and everything she is feeling is perfectly normal. I tell her it’s better to be homesick than not, it only means she loves her home. I tell her it is only one month until she comes home, and then before she knows it it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas. I tell her this is the hardest part and if she can just push through she will be fine. I tell her I will not come to Austin. I hear myself telling her that she can come home, but that I don’t want to make the decision when she’s feeling so distraught. I tell her I want her to see a counselor at school and we will take it from there.
Daughter 1.0 listens. She makes herself an appointment with a counselor. She loves the counselor. She decides to participate in a 12 week program to help deal with her anxiety. She feels better and like she’s going to be just fine. And then she books herself a flight home. She’ll be home on Friday. I hope it doesn’t make things harder. My Husband is convinced she will be so bored here she will be only all too willing to go back to school.
I never wanted my Daughter to feel like she couldn’t come home if she needed. It’s one of the reasons we didn’t want her too far away, and certainly not someplace without direct flights home. I want her to know that coming home is ALWAYS an option. We are her safety net. But I also want her to know that she can get through the sadness and be just fine, better than fine. My Husband thinks she should learn to not feel those feelings. Maybe that’s a male perspective. Maybe I’m being unfair to males and it’s just my particular male’s perspective. I think you can’t stop feeling what you feel and if you try you will only make yourself sick. Maybe the answer is in the middle – be sad, feel it, then put it aside, pick yourself up and keep going.
I found out that when Daughter 1.0 told a friend with whom she was commiserating about homesickness that I suggested seeing a counselor, that friend told Daughter 1.0 that her mother was coming to town. “I wish my mother had told me to see a counselor,” the friend said, to which Daughter 1.0 replied “I wish my mother would come to town.” Grass. Greener. Fence.
It’s Taco Tuesday … tonight we are having grilled skirt steak with poblano peppers and onions.
Making the steak for these tacos is the EASIEST thing ever. Simply buy a skirt steak, sprinkle it on both sides with course salt and freshly ground pepper and grill it on a hot grill for about 3 minutes per side. Squeeze a lime over the steak and let rest for 5-10 minutes off the heat, then slice on the diagonal. That’s it!
For the poblano peppers and onions:
6 large poblano peppers
2 large sweet onions
6 cloves of garlic
Marjoram, 3 or 4 fresh sprigs or 1 tsp dried
1/2 cup heavy cream
Rub the peppers with canola oil and place on a broiling pan. Broil on high, watching carefully and turning to char all sides. Once the peppers are charred, remove from the oven and sweat either in a bowl covered with a plate or in a paper bag folded over. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel the skin from them and remove the stem and seeds. Slice the peppers into quarter inch slices. Peel and slice the onions and garlic.
In a large sautè pan cook the onions in canola over medium heat stirring occasionally until wilted. Add the sliced peppers and garlic and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes. Slowly add the cream and stir in the marjoram and lower the heat. Simmer gently for a few minutes until the cream has thickened and coated the vegetables. Remove the marjoram sprigs if you used fresh.
Serve the sliced steak in corn tortillas topped with the peppers and onions. You can add additional toppings if you like (guacamole, cheese, salsa, etc.)
Amazing, as usual. You, Keri and I should go for coffee. I am 2.5 years into Daughter Diagnosed with Clinical Anxiety away to prep for school (which she is finally starting in a week). Lots of stories. You are doing the exact right thing and a huge part of that is trusting your gut. Way to go, Mom!!