Friday, August 29, 2014

More News from The Nervous Parents Gazette

My firstborn started college this week and I am cycling through these phases of him being away like a pro.

After sending my son a text as soon as I woke up this morning, I haven't heard back. Rather than busying myself with daily life until he responds, I'm going to do what I do best. What I gold star in. 

I'm assuming he's in danger. 

I don't play around with this Nervous Parent stuff. It's my style. As a little girl, I would wring my hands over my baby Chihuahua, Pepe, whenever he'd shove the food around in his dish with his  nose. I knew just what his actions meant -- that this was the beginning of the end and that he was never going to eat again. 

Being on the homefront while the first of your baby birds has left the nest is no simple task for the nervous parent. We're not like the rest of you, and either you'll pick up when I'm puttin' down here, or you'll just send me links to articles from Psychology Today with titles like 50 Ways That Nervous Parents Destroy Their Children. And then you'll sign your email, "I say this because I love you, have you sought professional help?"

I've heard it all. I'm no stranger to the nonsense that worry is. And yet, I've made it into a hobby, a past time, and a mental game of ping pong that bruises my brain into the size of The Great Gazoo.

This is how a day in the life of a nervous parent goes when their son's first day away from home, is today: 

6:30 a.m. My eyes popped open. Had to text my son or I couldn't sleep. He needed to save the receipts from the books he was going to buy today. Sent him text.

6:32 a.m. Lie back down. Await quick response back.

7:00 a.m. Unable to fall back asleep. Decide instead to imagine son slipped on water that roommate spilled on floor night before and now son has been lying unconscious since 3 a.m. with roommate snoring and unaware only two feet away. 

7:39 a.m. Cursing myself for not telling son he needs to respond to texts with "Yes I'm alive." It's all I need, just a confirmation of being alive.

8:19 a.m. Try to eat a yogurt. Can't. Yogurt triggers panic that son didn't check expiration date on his yogurt so grabbed dairy botulised yogurt while sleep walking and now lying unconscious from food poisoning, only two feet away from roommate. 

8:42 a.m. Visualize son walking to breakfast this morning when man in white windowless van pulled up and asked him for directions. When polite son leaned in to answer, man grabbed son's head by the neck and pulled him into said van and sped away. Enhance scene with details of van without license plates, making said perp unable to be identified. Like ever.

9:23 a.m. Sit on hands, thereby disenabling myself from calling campus police to check on son.

10:09 a.m. Thinking perhaps son played early morning game of basketball. When basket made, he disturbed a hornet's nest with over 200 wasps inside. While running away to escape hornets, son tripped on untied shoe lace and is now in student health center, unable to give nurse in attendance my phone number so I can be alerted to son's status. 

10:56 a.m. Thinking how it's almost 11 a.m. There is no text back. Reason must be that phone charger burst into flames like that story on FB this morning from China about the smoking phone charger.

11:16 a.m. Thinking son went to find a church, as I had suggested. Church was charming, but a charismatic cult. Now my son is being held until he speaks in tongues. Hoping son speaks in language that says "Call my mother!"

12:04 p.m. Thinking son was followed by a disoriented older woman who mistakenly believes my son is her son. He's my son. I need to drive there and tell woman this important bit of information but first I need to find birth certificate for proof.

12:47 p.m. Thinking son accepted a FB friend request from someone's hijacked account and now he's on his way to meet who he thinks is someone from grade school but is actually this crazed woman who still believes my son is her son. 

1:17 p.m. Thinking someone on son's dorm floor brought in left over fireworks from the fourth of July. And they set them off in my son's dorm room.

2:10 p.m. Positive son's phone exploded in his pocket like that post about that kid in California that someone posted on FB this morning.

3:12 p.m. Son must be sleeping. He's been sleeping all day because he has sleeping sickness from a tsetse fly. No matter that this hasn't happened in America since 1966.

4:09 p.m. I call husband at work. Husband doesn't have a chance to talk because I do all the talking. I talk-convince myself that if anything had happened, son's school would have called me. Before hanging up the phone, I thank husband for wise advice.

5:05 p.m. No other explanation other than son must be lost. Due to amnesia from being hysterically blinded from homesickness. Chastise myself for encouraging and enabling strong mother/son bond that he misses me to this degree.

5:48 p.m. Try to eat dinner. Only able to take liquid nourishment. Sigh and accept loss of appetite. Wanted to lose 8-12 lbs anyway.

6:10 p.m. Decide to go for walk to relieve agitation. Halfway into walk, I receive a vision. It is of my son falling out of loft bed due to night time confusion over new surroundings. Race home, heart pounding.

7:15 p.m. Hear husband's phone ding. It's text from son. Son says "busy day. bought books. went for 4 mile run. met with friends and on way to bonfire. having a great time. "

7:17 p.m. I ask husband to text son back, tell him sorry I haven't had a chance to call all day. Glad he's having fun, if I have time, I'll try to squeeze a call in tomorrow.

7:26 p.m. Doing dinner dishes, heart begins to race. Wishing I had discussed importance of bonfire safety before son left for college.
 * * *    


  1. I may now (virtually) know someone who could possibly be worse than me. Possibly.

  2. Our son alternated in his first year of college between texting/calling several times a night and not being heard from all week. I try to not be stalker mom, but will admit to following his schools Twitter feed for advance warning of lockdowns etc. Seriously though, he survived first year and so did he. What happens in three years when Baby sister leaves for college is a whole different story.

    1. Oh, I think of that, Meg. Our oldest was ready to go, but when the baby leaves. OH MY LORD.

  3. bonfire safety...oy so many topics to cover and only 18 years to get them in...surely we will miss a son started middle school this year so i know a little of what you feel...smiles....

  4. I see absolutely NOTHING abnormal about your concerns. I love you.😀

  5. We are sisters. Truly.


  6. I have been thinking that I should probably get some books out of the library to help me come with the year ahead. (No point paying for books I won't read anyway) Now I see that while I may not be okay, IT will be okay...because I have you, who will understand! xoxoxo Thanks for paving the way with such lovable grace!

    1. Andrea, I've been steeling myself for two years now. I know that's why I'm doing "okay."

  7. Darn! You just gave me ideas what I will do when my preschooler goes on to college in 15 years... :*( but maybe by then we'll all have given up on phone text and use google glass :)

  8. Enjoyed reading this. Like that "only two feet away from roommate"

  9. Hey, how'd you get inside my brain?

  10. I love this because I keep thinking about how much fun I had immediately upon arriving at college. Which for an introvert like me, that meant that I knew my roommate from high school and SHE was my key to making friends. But I did, and my freshman year was truly one of the best years of my life.

    1. Thank you for telling me this, Leigh Ann! xo

  11. You're adorable, and I love you.

  12. I can see all this happening very soon for me, too. If they only knew how effectively they have wrecked us.

  13. Hilarity with that serious tone. Or did I get that backwards. I LOVE to read your blogs. LOVE LOVE LOVE no matter what. They are the best written with the best flow. xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  14. Tarantula. Lightning. Bus. Garbage Truck. Lost duck hunters. Misdirected fireworks. Short circuiting electric toothbrush. Slippery tile in bathroom leads to fall leads to toothbrush-into-throat incident. New computer virus that infects humans using computer. Professor Snape. Tainted froyo. Searing glances. Long line at admin building then lack of oxygen then passing out.
    And roommate apathy to all the above.

  15. You're adorable and now I know which of my son's college stories to avoid when we meet up.



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