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The struggle of having to let go

May 5, 2012
By SUMMER WALLACE-MINGER , Weirton Daily Times

So it's that time of year again.

That time when Sainted Child goes off to participate in the national academic games competition, leaving me all alone. And out of my mind.

Recently, the LSH and I saw a commercial for a mobile phone, featuring a mother and daughter sobbing hysterically because the daughter was moving into her own apartment. All their worries and troubles were magically solved through the power of having a really fancy phone, presumably so they could sob together even when they weren't in the same room.

"That would be me and Sainted Child," I told him.

He snorted. "Maybe you, but not her. She's too sensible."

But I bought a mobile phone for her, so the commercial worked. I explained to the LSH, not only could she send me photographs while she was at the competition - almost like being there! - but we could talk and text. He just sighed and signed us up for unlimited texting. I also found an application that allowed me to track her phone by GPS. She was of the opinion that this was "creeper behavior," and I was of the opinion that I purchased the phone and paid for the plan, so I could be a creeper if I wanted.

"I'll be OK, Momma," she lectured. "I went last year, and nothing happened."

"What if the bus accidentally drives off a cliff?"

"That won't happen."

"Will you call me?"


"And text me every morning and night. Also, at lunch."


"And I want pictures."

"Momma, you could just come with me."

"I don't want to be one of those parents who hover."

She gave me dubious eyes.

When they loaded the bus, she enlisted the assistance of the teachers, who assured me they'd take care of her like she was one of their own. Since I was positive none of them approached my level of paranoia, it wasn't as comforting as they meant it to be.

When I woke up late the next morning, I was pleased to see almost half a dozen texts - at least two of which were complaining about her academic archrival, the Salutatorian - and a few pictures. I was pleased she was keeping me in the loop.

However, since the competition began, I'm lucky to get a text or two and a call - and she tends to call her Grandmama first, since, as she explained, "she's even more worried than you." Meanwhile, I'm texting her six or seven times a day, informing her of our daily errands and my plans to try a garden again (and probably kill a boatload of plants).

I wonder if they need a mid-week chaperone replacement ... ?

(Wallace-Minger is The Weirton Daily Times community editor and can be contacted at

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