This is going to bring tears to my eyes as every morning<br /> we start out with text mes- sages that go “have a great day and remember your mommy loves you” and are replied “You too and I love lots.” It is different day to day but so far we have talked, e-mailed and texted everyday and several times a day. I know her tests scores, what she is studying, what she ate and what her plans have been for every evening.
I feel truly lucky to have this strong relationship with my daughter and because of that, her being at UNH hurts more than it should. Most parents can’t wait until their kids move out and become independent. When she turned 18 it was as special as the 16th and 17th birthday. I never looked upon it as she was an adult and would be leaving home soon. She has been an adult for so long in her maturity and decision making that this was just another birthday.
Her decision to move away has been one set in her by her mother. Not intentional but more so because I wanted my children to grow and experience everything, even if we didn’t have the money. Helping my children become the best adults and live the fullest life was my goal. So at 14 she went to Australia with People to People. Her independence came through and her desire to see more of what the world had to offer opened up. Though everywhere she went after this was still in the United States, she still saw things from a different perspective and had a thirst for more.
We went to New York City in June 2008 with our high school marching band. That hooked her and myself on the city and it’s activities. Her decision to go to UNH started out with the proximity to NYC and then grew into the differences this school had to offer compared to others as well as the quick train ride to the theater district.
She was accepted to colleges from Hawaii to New York and many in between. In the end, the courses, the teachers, reputation and her research brought her back to UNH. A deciding factor for me was the constant attention that she received from the administration via e-mail and while visiting the campus. It gave me a sense that my little girl was going to be in good hands with people who had her personal interest, future and safety in mind.
The biggest challenge as a parent besides the distance is not being there for all the firsts in her adult life. I can’t hug her when she is sad, give her a pat of encouragement (it would be another hug) and I don’t know what is happening unless she is willing to tell me. Waiting all the way until Christmas to see her is killing me after a week and already one hug care package, but I am planning things that will keep her excited about her venture home.
The biggest challenge that I have heard from her, that I can’t do anything about, is the difference in the way people talk and act in different areas. We are Minnesota nice and talk with a slight accent. But life is laid back and people all try to befriend those around them. There is a culture shock. A clique of students that speak the same slang, know things that make sense to the East Coast, like the same foods or even know what those foods are and some know each other from high school. This is a tough one for those from so far away. However, it shows how adaptive your child can be from picking up the area sports teams to local music that is popular. Fitting in is important at this age. They do have to live together. But after two weeks already there is a bond between students that has already looked passed those differences and on to the ones they have in common: A NEED FOR A GREAT FUTURE!!
Jamie Golden, parent of Elizabeth Golden,