I’m a senior at a local university, commuting from home, and my younger sister is leaving soon for a distant school. It’s just me, my sister, and our mother in the house, and I’m worried that I’ll be smothered now that Baby Sis is going away. Mom’s a single parent and does everything she can to keep us close so that she’s not lonely (this includes asking us to sleep in her bed for weeks at a time, and it’s been this way for years). Now that my sister is leaving and it’s just me, I already feel bad about leaving Mom to do homework on campus or stay after class or anything else that keeps me out of the house. At the same time, I don’t want to be stuck at home with Mom for my entire senior year. Is there any middle ground so that I can get out of the house and be a little more independent while making sure Mom’s not too lonely?
—Lonely Mom, Stuck Daughter