The One Where Jenna Goes to College

I know he misses her too.


A little over a month ago, I moved my daughter into her freshman dorm. We packed up about two-thirds of her bedroom, bought way too many Command strips, a new bedding set complete with a comfy foam mattress top, the Keurig coffee machine, and other must-haves, and sent her off into the real world.

Nowadays, when I meet up with friends or family, they ask two questions: How’s Jenna doing? and “How are you doing?

In my head, each time they sound like Joey from Friends: How You Doin?

So, here’s how I’m doin’.

It’s a new normal in my house. In the beginning, it felt like a loss–although I would never dream of comparing myself to someone who has actually lost a child. Still, after 18 years of taking care of someone’s physical and emotional well being with all of my time and energy, heart and soul, I feel a part of me is missing.

She also picked up around the house, served as our extra driver to take our son places, gave spot-on fashion advice, and applied my makeup expertly. My version of a smoky eye looks like I’m hungover. So, from a practical standpoint, I miss all of that too.

She’s also exactly where she should be. Her school is precisely what she was looking for all along. It gives me incredible joy to see her thriving on her own. She loves to FaceTime with us and see our dog Chloe, who I think she misses most of all.

(Also part of my new normal is getting used to FaceTime. I hate how I look in that tiny camera).

Back at home, I get to spend quality time with our son, Andrew. I don’t write about him as often, and I’m not sure why. We went out to lunch the other day after Rosh Hashanah services, where he told me all about his water polo team and his favorite classes. In his spare time, he is on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout, and he will learn how to drive soon. He’s such a fantastic kid–a mensch. It is an exciting time in his life, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it. But, in the back of my mind, I know that soon enough, he will be going off to college too.

When that day finally comes in the fall of 2022, please ask me how I’m doin’.

8 comments on The One Where Jenna Goes to College

    • Elisa Heisman
      October 3, 2019 at 7:06 pm (5 months ago)

      I’m not looking forward to that, but I have a few more years before my son goes too. Thanks for reading!

  1. Paul Taubman
    October 2, 2019 at 9:42 am (5 months ago)

    What a great write-up of how you (are) doin’.

    It is a pivotal time in your lives and adjustments do not always come easy. And during the ‘struggle’ you all grow a little wiser, a little older, and a little closer. The times apart help mke the times together even more special.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Elisa Heisman
      October 3, 2019 at 7:06 pm (5 months ago)

      Thanks Paul. I’m counting on it! Thanks for reading and leading us all on this writing journey.

  2. Trish
    October 2, 2019 at 11:34 pm (5 months ago)

    I’ve been there! It’s a weird feeling, right? My biggest adjustment was not knowing where my daughter was. At least for the first few days. Not that I ever hovered over her, but I always knew where she was and what she would be doing. When she was away at school, I had no idea. I found myself checking her social media accounts for any sign of life those first few days away. We quickly settled into our new normal though. She graduated back in 2015 and she’s moved back home.

    • Elisa Heisman
      October 3, 2019 at 7:01 pm (5 months ago)

      So weird! But, I’m hanging onto my son’s every word because when he leaves I will be a true empty nester. Poor guy! LOL! I have the Find Your Friends app which I check to make sure she is home okay. It’s a lot to get used to but we are doing okay. Thanks for reading!

  3. Bing
    October 2, 2019 at 11:59 pm (5 months ago)

    I feel you. Although in this part of the world, we experienced wrestling with loneliness later – when after years of working, my firstborn suddenly decide to live on her own, in a rented condo.

    I got so afraid. I felt that it is not as safe now as before, given the crime rates.

    She’s not as sweet as your daughter, she’s the opposite, but still, her presence and persona enliven the household. So, after informing us, I got no words to say but be safe.

    • Elisa Heisman
      October 3, 2019 at 6:59 pm (5 months ago)

      I guess we have to let them go sometime and hope for the best. hang in there! Thanks for reading!


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