Monday, September 22, 2008

Separation Anxiety

For my day job, I’m working on a new book about baby’s first year. It’s been a long time since I had any infants in the house. Heck, even our dog is middle-aged. Many of the basics of newborn care haven’t changed, but the who, what, when, where, why, and how of baby’s sleeping habits has undergone a dramatic change since my kids were little. I’ll be devoting an entire chapter to what parents need to know about sleep – their own and their child’s.

I’ll also be focusing on separation anxiety, typical behavior in eight month old infants – and also in this mom whose “baby” is currently studying in Scotland. The news reports from the semester abroad student have been terrific. A little homesickness, a touch of shyness, but all in all, she’s having a grand time. Even willing to try vegetarian haggis – so the sense of adventure is strong.

But me? I have been surprised at how much I miss her. I’ve decided – and tell me if this makes sense – that my emotions are exaggerated because she’s in a different time zone. I feel like I’m watching a tape delay of the Beijing Olympics. The game is already over by the time I turn on the TV. I’m rooting for a winner when if I only go on the Internet, I can find the scores and know what happened. I’m not in “real time” with my kid.

On the other hand, my husband says I’m talking to her more now that she’s overseas, than when she was 120 miles away. Part of it (okay all of it) is my personal craziness, but Skype has dramatically changed my over-anxious life. If you’re not familiar with this free software, and have family and friends who live at a distance, you need to check this out. With Skype you can talk, and if you have a camera/microphone attached to your computer, you can actually see the person on the other end -- all without charge! On the first day in Scotland, by moving the camera on her laptop computer around the room, I could actually see where my daughter is living. When we talk, she can show me what she is wearing to the “freshers” dance. Of course, I could also see the circles under her eyes from lots of late-night events.

Letting go – whether your children are four, fourteen, or forty – is never easy. But thanks to a daughter who is patient with her over-anxious mother and with the help of cell phones, e-mail, and Skype, I can watch as she takes wing and soars.

Only 95 more days to go (before she's home!).

Evelyn David

1 comment:

  1. I feel for you Evelyn. There are so many "letting go" times when it comes to children. Letting go of a daughter when she heads out of state to college. Letting go when she takes off to Europe to spend the summer with friends. Letting go when she decides to move to another state, without a job or place to live. Letting go when she gets her second raise and promotion and decides she may just stay there.

    And I know there will be many more letting go times to come.