Comforting Across the Miles

Posted December 9th, 2009 by collegemomindebt and filed in Parent to Parent
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Student sitting on concrete with phoneThe phone rings and a familiar voice gasps, “Mom?” And then sounds of sobbing come over the line. My motherly mind races through several sad scenarios and I have to rein in my thoughts of the possible worst to simply ask, “What’s wrong?”

Then regardless of what my college-aged child has to tell me, I have to keep from judging her and the others involved and try to identify any practical piece of comfort or advice that I can give. Sometimes no ideas come and I just need to let her cry and tell her I love her and I am sorry she is going through this situation. If she’s in her room I can encourage her to grab the comforter I made and wrap it around herself so she can feel the hug I am trying to send through the phone while we talk… If she’s sick or injured I can encourage her to call a classmate to help get her to the school infirmary or to an emergency room. If she’s in an airport in an unfamiliar city exhausted and unsure of when she’ll be able to fly out and learning how uncertain flying on standby can be, then I can encourage her to find a chair in a corner and take a nap until she can think clearly and then call me back. If she’s been hurt by a relationship that isn’t going in the direction she desired, then I can listen to the details and then encourage her to seek out an activity that will keep her mind and body active as she continues to mentally and emotionally process through just what has happened.

Occasionally, her father and I have a practical solution to offer. Her father can talk through how to fix a computer or car problem or we can refer her to a resource that can meet her need. But more often than not we can’t supply the practical solution she needs.

It has taken some years for me to learn that we do not need to have the answers. Our daughter knows we don’t always have the answers. She just needs us to care and to listen. And while we hate to have her go through the pain of these experiences, looking back we can see how each experience has helped her to grow and move forward.

Throughout the years as a college mom, I’ve had to learn that there are many things beyond my control. If I spend too much time worrying about these things, I cannot be the mother my children need me to be. Even when my children are grown and far from home, they rely on me to be clear minded, caring and insightful. I can only be these things by being healthy – eating well, getting enough rest and attending to my soul as well as my body. Just as a mother of a preschooler needs a support system, a mother of college age children also needs a support system. For this reason I have used AffinityCare Student Assistance Plan and sought out other women who currently have or have had college aged children. I ask them questions about how they have coped with their fears and worries and I take their advice. This advice has ranged from encouragement to pray, get more exercise, take a nap, get out and do something fun with your husband, etc. It’s all been good advice and so I extend it to other parents who need to comfort their college children across the miles.

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