Anne Marie Madigan is also a psychiatrist who works with adolescents and adults. Her son Curtis is heading off for his freshman year in college. “I remind parents that it’s a blessing that their kids are able to go, that this is a wonderful gift to be giving them,” says Madigan, who lives in Milton. “But we have to acknowledge that it is a loss, a new stage of life. It’s hard for the kids, and hard for us.”
Madigan gave her son “a wide berth” in getting ready for college, because he was adamant he could do it all himself. “Of course, he waited until the eleventh hour, and all the courses he wanted were full. He was put in an 8 o’clock class, some Baroque art history class focusing on Bernini.
“Sometimes,” she says, “you have to read between the lines and know when you do need to step in.” She did, and the 8 o’clock class on Bernini is, in more ways than one, history.
As for us parents, Madigan knows that we’re unprepared for how painful it can be. Her advice: “Find solace in your friends. It’s important to know that other moms and dads are feeling sad too, to know that you’re not alone and you’re not crazy.”
She agrees that staying busy is therapeutic. As my 20-year-old son, Nick, prepares for his senior year in college, and my daughter prepares to move back to Thailand, I think I will keep busy like Hallowell and write a book. The working title: “There’s No Place Like Home.” It will be dedicated to Megan and Nick.
Bella English lives in Milton. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.