You Should Call Your Mother

You Should Call Your Mother

Sometimes home needs you just as much as you need home.
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I’m a lucky person: I get to go home to both of my parents, I’m close with my siblings, I have an emotionally questionable/maybe psycho dog. One big, happy (most of the time) family. Believe me when I say that I understand that that is not frequently the case homes across the country today. It’s not that I haven’t realized that before; I’m just feeling particularly grateful for it now.

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: college will challenge you. Everyone goes through it. Your whole life changes—new environment, new people, new classes. New everything. Sometimes you just really need to call your mom. Or your dad. Or your siblings. Or facetime your (maybe) psycho dog.

I’ve done all of the above this year. If we’re being really honest, the better part of this semester has kicked my ass. I constantly overextend myself and my sleep schedule is so out of whack that even when I have time to sleep in, my body doesn’t let me.

I am aware of this; I continue to stay extremely involved anyway because I do not know how to function when I’m not busy (this is a topic for another day I suppose). I’m used to my hectic lifestyle and how it affects me. When I choose to stay up well past midnight to finish a paper because I didn’t have time in between rehearsals, I know how I’ll feel about it the next morning.

What I’ve been reflecting on lately, however, is that I’m not the only person that that choice affects.

My mom picked me up from campus the other day to go grab dinner (one of the many privileges I can exercise as someone who goes to college less than half an hour from their home). As I was catching her up on my life and hearing about the word on the street at home, it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t called her to talk—really talk, like more than a surface level “I’m good…not much…love you…” etc., etc.—in God only knows how long.

And I didn’t like that feeling.

I texted my dad the other day to ask for some internship advice. All I said to start the conversation was “Hey, do you have time to talk right now?” And his almost-immediate response was “anything for my daughter!”

I didn’t answer for another hour or so because I had to run off to another rehearsal.

We joke about it at home—about forgetting to call for weeks because we’re “just too busy for home” or not answering a text for hours because we just didn’t see it. I don’t know if I’m just particularly bad at communicating or if this situation is common for college students but realizing how prevalent it is in my life made me feel like an exceptionally bad daughter.

I know that my family supports me no matter what, that they want me to live my own life and grow into an independent, self-sufficient person. That’s what college is about, after all—fostering that independence.

While I’ve been busy learning how to be my own person, however, I seem to have forgotten that I’m not the only one experiencing change. My parents are too, and I was clueless enough to ignore that for the better part of 2 years.

Sometimes you just really need to call home for your own sake; but don’t forget that sometimes home needs you to call just as badly.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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My College Move Caused My Little Sister To Develop Separation Anxiety

Students moving to college has a ripple effect on families that is too often overlooked

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Moving to college is a daunting experience for almost every first-year student. It can be lonely, awkward, and you might miss your family... a lot. It makes you realize that after living with your parents and siblings for eighteen years, the act of uprooting what you have always known and leaving it all behind, is a really strange thing to do. You are no longer surrounded by the core people that have made you who you are today. And while I was dealing with these circumstances, I failed to notice how it takes effect on my sibling's emotions.

While it was obvious that my parents were dealing with the great heartache of their first child leaving the nest, I never considered the distress that it would cause in the lives of my siblings. A whole person is taken out of the original family dynamic, changing the ambiance of their household life entirely. I feel that this is often disregarded, as every event from graduation, to move in day, is about the child who is leaving. But it wasn't until my family began to relay the distressing tendencies of my eleven-year-old sister, did I recognize that she was showing signs of depression. And the guilt hit me instantly.

My mom and dad would each call me on multiple occasions to tell me how often she seemed to not be present or was not eating enough. Whether at the dinner table, in the car, or out shopping on the weekends, they could not seem to lift her spirits. They would also complain that from the time she arrived home from school until bedtime, she remained in her room, on her phone or computer. Although for a preteen this is not unusual, it was shocking to us as she used to spend the majority of after-school time with friends, and later hanging out with the family until it was time for bed.

Finally, I came to the conclusion that her self isolation must stem from the fact that my parents went through a divorce a few years ago, leading to me becoming a motherly figure to her during the nights spent at my dad's house. And she was probably just starting to adjust to that agenda until I left for school in August. But she was not the only one left feeling like she was missing something.

Although my brother doesn't outright show that he was as affected by my departure, he has mentioned to me many times how neither house feels as home-like with me gone. Because of this, he disregards any attempt to better his home relationships and often uses his newly acquired car to drive to his friend's houses where he spends most nights. Although this is his coping mechanism, it leaves my sister home with only one parent or the other, feeling like a newly appointed only child.

The issue with this is that my parents don't know how to give proper attention to a metaphorical only child, nor do they have the time. My siblings and I always had each other to keep company so it was never an issue. Therefore, my sister is left lonely, and slowing receding into mildly depressive tendencies. And no matter how often I encourage her to call me and discuss her feelings, I get the idea that she doesn't believe that anyone will understand, or that she feels as though discussing her feelings becomes a burden to others.

Luckily my family recognized what she was going through after a while, and has begun to take action to help her out of this funk. However, the possible mental illness that I saw her beginning to develop at such an early age is extremely worrisome to me. Not only do we live in a world where mental illnesses are more prominent than ever due to social media, but sometimes the families of those affected are the ones blindly causing it. We need to encourage our parents and siblings to bring about their compassion for each other more often. Because in a fast-paced world like the one we live in, where everything is constantly going, we often forget to look at those around us and make sure that they are feeling valued and heard.

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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"

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It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

When you hear, "I can't buy you too much because someday your aunt is going to have kids and I will have to do the same for them" you cringe and just had to know that all of the attention wouldn't last forever.

11. Birthdays are always a big deal

A perk of not having very many to remember.

12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

Maybe the only thing you would miss if you had a big family is the opportunity to develop such close bonds with the few relatives that you do have.

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