Studying Abroad: Dear Daughter, I Miss You Even More Now

Hi Honey! Hope you’re good and having the time of your life in Ireland! And remembering to eat. And to sleep. And to hydrate. And remembering to wear your cross-body bag like I told you to whenever you go anywhere. And never going anyplace outside your dorm alone. And missing me, at least once in a while you’re studying abroad.

How parents feel when their kids are studying abroad

Dad and I wish we could talk to you more often so we could hear more about what you’ve been up to, but we know how much you’ve got going on, between classes and your internship. Busy, busy! Thank God for social media so we can get glimpses of all the exciting stuff you’ve been doing.

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Actually, between creeping on your Instagram feed and looking over your sister’s shoulder at your Snapchat story on her phone, we know you’re doing pretty great. Like, amazingly great. Like, wow-I-wish-I-was-you-globetrotting-all-over-Europe great. And that makes us so happy. (A little jealous, too.) Although, I’m sure in between all the fun, you’re missing us more than you’re letting on. Probably beyond words. And you’re counting the seconds until we get there in November, right? You’re such a good kid.

Honestly, though, we love seeing all the photos of you traveling all over Europe, and of all the spectacular-looking sights you’re seeing, and all the new people you’re meeting. And it’s great that our bank account is linked to your credit card so we can see all the fun charges you’re racking up. Because all we want is for your time abroad to be epic and unforgettable.

Funny, though, whenever we talk or text, we’re both so excited to hear about everything you’re doing that we’ve barely filled you in on how everything’s going here at home. Cause when I stopped to think about it yesterday, I realized that you’re probably curious about how we’re doing here without you. So that’s why I’m writing you, to let you know how we’ve been doing since you’ve been away.

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Well, first off, I haven’t slept in three weeks. You know, since the night you left. I mean, with the five-hour time difference between Boston and Dublin, it’s turned my body clock to sh*t. Not to mention, I catch myself wondering what you’re doing and who you’re with about every fourteen seconds. So that’s a sleep killer right there.

Guess I’ve just conditioned myself to always be available in case you might call. Or text. Or accidentally pocket dial me while you’re in your Irish Lit class. But that’s ok, it’s only for three-and-a-half months. I can deal. The most important thing is that you’re having fun.

Also, I’ve spent a good chunk of time avoiding thinking about any of Liam Neeson’s “Taken” movies. Amazing how often the trailers come on while we’re watching cable. But they put too many crazy ideas in my head about you getting abducted at some pub, so I’ve been working really hard at avoiding them on the On Demand guide. Time-consuming stuff and it takes a lot out of me emotionally, but that’s why I meditate, so I’m good.

And dad and I have become slightly compulsive about checking our CNN International News Feed to make sure we know everything that’s happening in Europe in real-time. That actually accounts for a decent chunk of our day, too.

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See, you have to remember, as you’ve done your growing-up thing, our anxiety level as parents has grown, too. Like when you went off to kindergarten, we started carrying around a bucket of new things to worry about, like learning your ABCs, and making friends, and not peeing your pants. Then you went off to high school and our bucket got heavier, you know, with fears of sex and drugs and peer-pressure-type stuff. And then, boom, you’re in college! That’s when all the everyday stuff we worry about started sloshing over the rim and spilling onto the floor because you weren’t under our roof anymore.

But there’s been nothing quite like that feeling we both felt watching you clear through security at the International Terminal, passport in your teeth, as you left for the semester in Europe. Your studying abroad created a whole new level of emotion. And for that, we needed a whole new bucket.

You’re twenty, though, and everything you’re seeing and doing is so damn exciting that you don’t think about your time abroad the way we do. And you wouldn’t, because you’re not a parent. But to us, knowing you’re in a different country, in a totally different time zone, with a whole continent of people we don’t know, is a lot for us to process. Like, a real lot.

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I mean, it’s rough enough on parents to let our kids go when you guys go off to college; but it’s especially tough when we ship you off to foreign countries that are super-far away. (Special emphasis on the super-far part.) That’s because we’re not on the same soil anymore. And even though, in our case, getting to Ireland takes the same amount of time on a plane as getting to the West Coast, we still have the illusion of you being so much farther away because it’s across the Atlantic. Just the word “intercontinental” plays mind games in my head. But we spend a lot of time now chanting and doing yoga to help us stay calm and relaxed while you’re away, so it’s all good.

We’re doing our best to focus on how unique and life-changing this opportunity is for you and how capable and self-confident you’ve become since you’ve been away. I mean, navigating a brand new city and branching out and meeting so many new people and fending and cooking for yourself! Those pictures of the dinners you’ve been making look amazing! So funny that when you’re here at home you never let on how capable you are in the kitchen.

Well, I guess that pretty much catches you up from our end. Miss you so much! See you in a few weeks, pumpkin! I love you!

Mom xo

P.S. It’s gonna be a huge load off knowing you’ll be cooking dinners from now on once you get home! Yay me!


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About Lisa Sugarman

Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. She writes the nationally syndicated opinion column It Is What It Is and is the author of How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids and Be Ok with It--Real Tips & Strategies for Parents of Today's Gen Z KidsUntying Parent Anxiety: 18 Myths That Have You in Knots—And How to Get Free, and LIFE: It Is What It Is, available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and at select bookstores everywhere. Read and discuss all her columns and books at Or, find them on GrownAndFlown, Thrive Global, Hot Moms Club, LittleThings, MommingHubb, More Content Now, Wickedlocal, This Mama Wines, and Care(dot)com. She's also the founder and moderator of The Vomit Booth, the popular Facebook Group where parents can go to bond, share, and connect over the madness of raising kids in today's world.

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