Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Letting Go of a Sister for College

I use a website to track how many people visit this blog. I was thrilled when I figured out that website will also tell me how readers found me. I just looked at some of the various paths people got to me through and saw that someone (I don't know who) Googled the phrase "how to let go of a sister who's going to college." You got to my site with this search, but I happen to know I haven't written anything on the topic of letting go of a sister. But my heart goes out to you, and I wanted to write you a letter. I hope you'll happen back on this site and see it, but, if not, maybe it'll do someone else some good. So here you go, my thoughts on the topic.

The first thing that stood out to me was that a search like yours was probably motivated by a great feeling of sadness and loss. I can identify with you, because one of my best friends is my sister, and she's currently teaching English in China. For a year. And she might stay on for 3-5 more years. Before that, she left town for college, too.

But I never let go of her. And you don't have to, either.

Yes, you will see your sister less if she leaves town. You'll have to fill some of your new free time with other friends. And that will be a bummer. I'm putting that lightly, but I can still picture the way the sky looked the day I was driving through town, wishing my sister were here to go shopping with me. She's my favorite shopping buddy. But she wasn't there and there was no way to change it. Moments like that will be sad, but survivable. You can keep going, maybe find someone else to go shopping with.

And yes, while you're doing all of this, your sister will be off having adventures of her own, which she may or may not tell you about. She might be leaving for college anxious to get away from home and won't want to spend much time with you via computer, either. But I imagine that if you talk to her, tell her how you feel, and make friendly, let's-catch-up contact once or twice a week, she won't abandon you. Don't smother her or send her on guilt trips, because that'll only push her away. But let her know that you're out there and that you're there for her, that you miss her. Oh, and pray for her. My experience is that your sister will eventually gravitate back toward you.

Now, this staying in touch thing is easier and cheaper than every before with apps like Skype, Facetime, and WeChat.

The nice thing about sisters is that, at the end of the day, you've always got something to fall back on, something that'll almost always get you an audience with them: you're related. Granted, there are things that come between relatives that keeps them apart for a lifetime. The good news is, the act of going to college is not one of them. So do your sister a favor. Never let her go.

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