Stories about sharing memories at home

Photo Medicine for the Homesick College Student

Recently my daughter left for college. Her mother and I were excited and worried—excited that she had obtained her goal, but worried that she would be homesick and lonely. Although our daughter Margaret easily makes friends, we knew that she and her sisters are very close. Additionally, she had never made it through a sleepover without one family member in the house. In fact, we were sure we’d get a call in the middle of the night to come and get her. And at her chosen college, she would be little more than a quick midnight ride away.

Fortunately, Margaret knew herself better than we thought, and planned for success. The day after high-school graduation, she started planning what she was going to take with her to college. And boy, was she well prepared as we stuffed the minivan with bedding, towels, and more. A colleague sympathized with my situation, describing the difference between guys and gals. Evidently he shipped his son to college with two suitcases, while his daughter required her own a packed minivan.

The next day we moved her in. Fortunately, the school arranged drop-off times and provided a gang of people to empty the lines of SUVs—apparently, we weren’t the only parents with daughters. Soon enough, we got ‘er all moved and in and left for our hotel.

The next morning, we dropped by to see how she’d settled in. I noticed several framed family pictures on her desk. On the wall above her bed, she assembled a huge collage of photos that she made to keep her from feeling lonely. She made the collage very simply by choosing 30 pictures from our family’s digital photo collections and printing them in 4×6 format from our printer’s photo tray. No frames were needed, nor holes drilled for hanging a corkboard. Instead, she attached them to the wall with putty for hanging pictures.

The collage contained pictures of her friends, her sisters, grandparents, and us! As her parents, we felt great to have made the cut—although the dog seemed featured prominently. One photo in particular made me laugh out loud after hearing her explanation for choosing it. “This picture is for when I am feeling homesick. Do you notice what Katie and Lydia are wearing? Every piece of clothing belongs to ME. While I love them, this will remind me of how irritating it is to not be able to find a scarf and then go downstairs to see my sister wearing it!”

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