Daughter's texts help mom endure empty nest

Dear Abby answers readers' questions
Modified: September 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm •  Published: September 20, 2012
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DEAR ABBY: I have to respond to your reply to “Tammi's Mom in N.J.” (June 21), whose daughter won't answer her texts at college. Our daughter, “Jill,” attended college 12 hours from home. She would text me almost every day — short, sweet messages always ending with “Luv U, XOXO.” I looked forward to those texts because they were a lifeline to my daughter.

Tammi's Mom is coping with empty nest syndrome, which no child can understand until she experiences it one day herself. Thankfully, Jill knew how much her texts meant to me. They got me through four long years without her. I hope Tammi sees this and appreciates that she has a mom who isn't smothering her, but who loves and cares about her.

Remembering, Johnstown, Pa.

DEAR REMEMBERING: Thank you for sharing. I stressed to Tammi's Mom that her daughter is growing up and trying to establish independence. However, readers were quick to point out that Tammi still owes her mother the courtesy of keeping in touch:

DEAR ABBY: When I was away at college, many students expected their parents to pay their tuition and living expenses but stay out of their lives. Tammi's Mom said she'd be happy with a call or text every two or three days. I don't think that is unreasonable.

I have lived several hundred miles away from my family for 10 years now. I enjoy a great deal of independence, but I know it worries my parents to have me so far away. I call them every day or two. These quick phone calls (usually only five minutes) help them see that I'm safe and happy and also allow me to remain emotionally close to my family, even though I'm not geographically close.

Abby, asking for a quick text, which takes only a few moments, is not “helicopter parenting.”

Independent Girl in Arizona

DEAR ABBY: To Tammi's Mom, I say — it's time to get a life! Do things now that you've always wanted to do. If you're married, find things in common again. Sometimes when we raise our kids, we can become consumed with their wants and needs, and our marriages suffer.

Take up a new hobby and let your baby bird spread her wings. She'll thank you for it and will want to call you when you stop calling or texting every day. If you get yourself busy, you'll spend less time sitting by the phone.



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