Thursday, September 27, 2007

Leaving home for college

Yes, I know we're many years away from having to deal with an 'empty nest'! But for some reason, Hannah has begun to worry about college.

Not about getting good enough grades to get in or having enough money to afford it (both worries of mine for her and her sisters) - she really doesn't understand those things yet.

No, she's worried about having to leave home.

I'm not sure what sparked this fear of hers, but a few times in the past weeks she's asked me what the 'last' grade of school is. So we talk about 12th grade and being in high school. Then she asks me what she'll do after that.

Now, I want my kids to go to college - I don't really want them to think that there's any other viable option (except maybe a technical school if they've got the skill and desire for that). That's how I was raised - it was just understood that college came after high school in the same way that 12th grade comes after 11th grade. So I answer Hannah's question and tell her that after high school she'll go to college.

This is where she starts getting upset. "I don't want to go to college!", she sobs (ever the drama queen, of course).

"Why not?", I ask.

"I want to stay with you and Daddy! I don't want to go away!" More sobbing...

Is this some form of separation anxiety, that she's so worried about something that won't happen for another 14 years? Has she seen too many Blue's Clues episodes with Joe taking over when Steve left for college? We don't have any family members or friends who have graduated from high school or left for college recently. I can only assume she's picked something up from hearing others talk or from television.

I reassure her, "Hannah, you don't have to go away - college isn't for a long time yet." And believe me, by then I'm sure she'll be glad to get away, like most college-aged kids! Although she doesn't believe me - that's the problem.

"Can you come with me to college?" she asks, still sobbing.

"Sweetie, Mommy already went to college. Besides, you probably won't want me to come with you when you get old enough to go to college. Or there are colleges near home so you could live at home with me and Daddy. You don't have to go away if you don't want to."

"I don't want to!" She's adamant about that.

"Ok then, see it's all right, we've got it all figured out."

"But will you still come with me?" she looks up at me, apparently still not completely convinced that we're not going to sneak her stuff out and onto some college campus one of these days when she's not paying attention.

I sigh and give her the answer that I know she's looking for, "Yes, Hannah if you still want me to when the time comes, I'll go with you to college."

"I do want you to." She gives me a hug and a kiss, satisfied for now.

"Ok." And I know that when the time does come someday, I would go with her if she still wants me to. But I'm 99.9% sure that when she is a high school graduate looking forward to the freedoms and challenges of college - or whatever else she decides to do then, her mother is the last person she is going to want to take with her.

So I'll enjoy the being wanted and needed for now, for as long as I can, as many years as possible, since I know they'll pass by way too quickly.

I'm not ready for her to grow up quite that fast! :)

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5 wonderful people said...:

Tammy said...

My daughter was like that too. She kept telling me that she was going to live with me forever and her husband was too. Now at 13 she tells me she wants to go to college in Japan. So much for living with me forever. LOL

childlife said...

Poor little sweetheart! She's a thinker, that one : ) I know what you mean about not wanting them to grow up too fast.

...Also, something for you on my morning post : )

~Amber~ said...

That made me cry. Maddy is 8 and still says she doesn't want to ever move out. Silly kids..they just don't get that they will want to be away from us someday. You are such a good momma Deb..if I was your kid, I wouldn't want to be away from you either! :)

Summer said...

Count Dooku gets upset whenever we talk about moving away. He's almost cried on several occasions when I talk to him about having a house someday and a yard. He can't imagine any place better than our apartment, but I'm sure that will change.

Corey~living and loving said...

Lovely post! I remember bawling on my mom when I was about 6 and pleading that she never make me get married and move out. LOL
I think it is totally normal, but this young....and to be worried about college. that is a new one for me. :)
Glad you told her you would go with her if she still wanted you to. That is what she needed to hear. Good Job mom!