I remember the first time I said goodbye to my mom.
I remember when she moved me into my dorm, when she stuck around for orientation to make sure I was okay, and when she gave me a hug and drove away.
I also remember when I cried for days on end and my mom drove back across the country to see me for a total of a few hours. That’s just how she is.
It was hard to say goodbye to my mom then, and going into my third year of college, at 20 years old, it hasn’t gotten any easier.
My friends’ jaws drop to the floor and they laugh when I tell them that I try to call my mom every day. But personally, I don’t really know how to not talk to my mom at the end of my day. How else am I supposed to pretend that I don’t miss her every day?
I try to tell myself that I need to get over it, and that going to college means letting go of the attachment I have to my mom. But I can’t do it. Because the more I think about it, and the older I get, the more I realize how lucky I was. How lucky I am.
I have a mom who was home when I came home from school and volleyball practice and everything else I did. My mom cooked my favorite meals, listened to me practice countless presentations and speeches, and was front and center at every single one of my sporting events.
Up until when I went away to college, my mom played what was probably the most important and prominent role anyone had in my life. She supported me, she encouraged me, and she helped me when things went wrong.
When high school brought up things that seemed like the end of the world, she was there. Every breakup, every bad grade, she was there. And what I’ve realized is that the problems I had in high school haven’t gone away. I don’t suddenly have my whole life in order. I still get my heart broken sometimes, and I still get the occasional bad grade. The difference is that now, my mom is across the country when it happens.
And that sucks.
That has always sucked. I am 20 years old and I still call my mom when I have a bad day. I still cry on the phone for no reason other than that I miss being able to hug her before I go to bed. But that’s okay. Because being a relative adult and being in college doesn’t mean that I have to have everything figured out. It doesn’t mean that I have to deal with the bad things that happen to me by myself. And it doesn’t mean that I have to grow up and act like I don’t need my mom every once in awhile. Because I do.
I love college, and I feel so at home here. I have found friends, love, and a community that makes me feel happy, intelligent and connected. I get so excited to come back to campus for a new year, but that doesn’t change the fact that I miss my mom. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
All I can really hope is that when I have kids, they’ll miss me this way, too. Because I know that I miss my mom because she loved me and took great care of me when I lived at home.
I’m 20 years old, I miss my mom, and that’s okay.