DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My younger sister left for bootcamp nearly a month ago and my mom is still crying at least a little every day. It isn’t like she hasn’t had one of her kids move away before. Both my older brother and I left for college right after high school. Why is she such a mess this time around? --- RUNNING LOW ON TISSUES
DEAR RUNNING LOW: How do you know your mother didn’t shed more than a few tears when you and your brother went off to college? Separation anxiety isn’t just for the ones who leave.
Be patient with your mom. Unlike college, military life doesn’t come with a lot of time for visits home. There’s no gradual weening process like there usually is when your kid is away at college and able to put in at least an appearance during winter, spring, and summer breaks. And, during the first phases of training, the newly inducted have limited opportunities to even make phone calls.
Encourage your mom to write your sister letters, as many and as often as she can. It’ll give Mom a kind of virtual time with her, as well as helping your sister feel less disconnected from home.
And it wouldn’t hurt if the rest of the family got into the act too.