I had no fantasies that my college freshman’s winter break would look much different than her time at home over the Thanksgiving weekend. I quickly got used to the inevitable cycle of appearance and disappearance, punctuated with “what’s for dinner?” texts. Things would be different for her second semester spring break, though. Unlike the synchronized timing of Thanksgiving and Christmas, this vacation didn’t overlap with her high school friends’ breaks. She’d come home for 10 full days, and she’d be ours.
“See ya, Mom,” she said within the first five minutes home from the airport over Thanksgiving and then again in December, dropping her duffel and backpack inches from where we had just entered. This was the first of many indications that when home from college, my daughter would rather spend her time with high school friends, her boyfriend, all while texting and Snapchatting her new friends away at school. While it’s becoming increasingly clear that’s how she wants to spend her time home from college, the truth is I don’t always want to share her. I don’t want the sliver–the thinnest, smallest piece left behind, the one that’s left over after everybody else gets the other parts of her.
Not so long ago, my daughter loved our family togetherness. She would get excited about make-your-own taco night or sharing a hot potato knish at our favorite neighborhood deli. Back then, time wasn’t so sparse; she wasn’t pulled in every direction, forced to choose how and with whom to spend any given hour.
Read the rest of the essay here, at On Parenting/The Washington Post