My stepdaughter left yesterday. This is harder than I thought.

Yesterday my stepdaughter “Sandra” left for Columbia University. Teachers College, to be specific, and on the other side of the country. This seems like a much more nearly irrevocable departure than when she was just finishing up her BA at Berkeley. When she was there she could come down and visit once in a while. My wife and I are proud of her and all she’s accomplished in school, and her future looks bright. And when she was staying with us, she left quite a big “footprint”, environmentally speaking, on our apartment, which under those circumstances might best be described as “large made small”. Hairdryers and cosmetics would be left in the living room, and my wife’s bathroom, which they shared, was always cluttered with her things. Lights were always being left on in empty rooms, and her way of doing things, generally, was noisy. And she monopolized her mom’s car.

So now that she’s gone we should be relieved, right? No, not right. :(. In spite of the obtrusiveness of her life with us, she brought something to our lives that we cherished. I never had a child of my own, but now I have some appreciation of how parents feel when their kids leave.

I met “Sandra” when I met my future wife, and she had just turned 13. It’s an age when kids begin to pull away from their parents, and I never wanted to be obtrusive as her mother’s boyfriend, and later, as her stepfather. Consequently I think I withheld too much of my time, my guidance, and myself. And now that she’s gone, it’s too late in a way, though we can still have email.

I’m sure I’ll feel better in a day or two, but right now it’s hard.

If you haven’t, then you need to share these sentiments with her, not us.

I did email her. Nothing drippy or sentimental, but just hoping she’s getting settled in nicely and warning her to watch out for the Republicans next week :slight_smile:

A couple of years ago when she was deciding whether to transfer to Berkeley, I told her that going away to college was one of the best experiences a young person could have, and I think I had a positive influence on that decision. I’m grateful for that. Of course I might have been biased, being an alumnus of two different UC schools.

Spectre , you sound like a great stepfather. I’m appreciative of that just because both of my step-parents are also very supportive and make my life better. I know your stepdaughter probably feels the same way.

You’re reminding me of when I left for college. Of course, by that time, my parents had already sent away two of their kids to college, and seen one graduate and be officially living on her own away from home, so by the time they got to me it was much less “we’re going to miss you, write often” and more of a “hurry up and get out of here, mom wants to turn your room into a sewing room.”

Whoever said it was best being the “baby” in the family was dead wrong.

My family lives in L.A., and I did my BA at UC San Diego. It was great being away from home, though I know my folks were glad it wasn’t too far away. Even when starting my junior year, which I spent in Germany, I really don’t remember experiencing any pangs of apprehension or homesickness, though there were times when I missed my home university campus. That was mainly because I preferred the typical American set-up, in which a uni has its own campus where most of its facilities are near each other. In German universities, the various faculties and other facilities tend to be spread throughout the community.

But how different it is when you’re the parent watching them go.