Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"I Can't Tell You How Excited My Parents And I Were To Be in Separate States." From Lou the Lazy.

Finally, stay in touch with your parents. They’ll miss you, possibly more than you’ll miss them (and your Mom will probably cry). Call, Skype, or text them often – not just when there’s an emergency. Talk to them when you’re in a bad spot, if you think you made a big mistake, or you just need a shoulder and you’re homesick. Remember that you’re an adult now but you’ll always be their kid.



  1. Millenials don't need to be told this particular bit of advice. Coal to Newcastle, Shit to Sheboygan, etc. No worries -- it's in a book, so it's not like they're going to waste time reading it.

  2. I couldn't wait to leave for college, and my own parents seemed to come alive as a couple after I left. (I was the last kid to leave the nest.) I know they missed me, but we didn't need a book to tell us how to survive it all.

  3. My grandfather had a heart attack a month or so after the beginning of my freshman year, spent the next month in the hospital, and died 10 days before Thanksgiving. I also landed (briefly, mostly as a precaution) in the hospital myself, for the only time in my life (toxic shock). I still don't think my father and I averaged more than one phone conversation a week that fall (and it's not like we weren't staying in touch, or responding to emergencies; he made an unplanned day trip to the city where I was going to school to visit me in the hospital, and I left for Thanksgiving vacation a day early to be at my grandfather's burial). I think I also sent a few letters.

    In fact, since my father spent a good deal of the fall in his hometown, I'm not sure he and my high-school-aged sibling (who could drive, and so was semi-independent, but eventually got lonely and decamped to the home of family friends) spoke all that much more often than he and I did. Admittedly both I and my sibling were unusually independent (children of a single-parent father with a very demanding job, at a time when single parents were still rare), and we had a good deal of community support. Still, I don't think my level of communication with folks at home was all that different from that of my hallmates (some of whose parents lived in the same city, and some of whose parents lived halfway across the world, though the latter probably wrote more letters and called less often, since international calling was very expensive in those days, and generally reserved for emergencies or special occasions. That's one major technological/economic change; even long distance cost significant money, with different rates at different times of day, which required planning.)

    Then AT&T workers went on strike toward the end of the summer preceding my sophomore year, and my dorm, which had been under renovation, was left fully habitable, but completely without phone wiring (and hence phones) for several months. Happily settled in to college life, I neglected to find a pay phone for weeks (I may or may not have sent a letter or two). My father finally sent me a telegram asking me to call home, but only because the woman he'd been dating for some time had been diagnosed with cancer. I think he preferred not to tell me the news by letter, and also probably wanted (reasonably enough) hear my voice at a difficult time for him (my mother had died of cancer a decade before). Unfortunately, the telegram went astray in the package room, and he eventually wrote me a letter, which I received, and called home. As I get closer to the age he was at the time, I better understand why, and how badly, he wanted to be in touch with me, and feel a bit bad that I wasn't more easily available. However, I also consider my failure to notice that we hadn't communicated for weeks a positive sign of my age-appropriate independence, and happy adjustment to college.


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