Another school year is in the books and this one has been a tumultuous one. Here is what we have learned:
This was a year of trust and letting go. It was another lesson that parenting is not painted with a broad stroke but with fine lines on individual canvases.
“All good things must come to an end” is not only true and foreboding but is also incomplete. The phrase should be, “All good things must come to an end when it is least expected.”
This happened with football and we are now treading through uncharted territory. It was a year of accountability and allowing our son to decide his own way and the heartache that comes with it. I am proud of him, he knew the repercussions of making that hard decision and he has had to suffer them on a daily basis, since. It will get easier for him next year, he’s made of tougher stuff. Maybe a little obscurity is not a bad thing to wish for also.
My son’s freshmen year of college is over. We had to say bye to our baby boy 9 months ago and let him walk out into the world. Some parts were easy for him and some proved to be daunting but that is life. Here is what I learned about having a child in college.
We parents do not have the pull like we did in high school – Unlike grades k-12, we don’t get grade connect alerts to our son’s progress and when we ask the college they actually say “No”. We have to rely on our son to tell us how he is doing. In fact, the college only acknowledges the significance of us parents when they need someone to sign financial papers. Don’t they realize we need to continue to helicopter our children all the way through even adulthood?
– 18 years old is not an adult. I don’t care what the government says. I am glad the drinking age is 21, not that it matters. Yes, you may have a little genius on your hands that is perfect in every way and the school of hard knocks is the best free education you can get; however, these kids have no clue what it is like to be on their own. With that said, college treats them as adults with full accountability so its time we do the same.
– If your children get to attend a local college, you will see them all the time. Yes, I wrote about how saddened I was at his leaving and those feelings are real. I will continue to miss him every time he leaves his home. HOWEVER, when they are 20 miles from the house there are a multitude of reasons you will see them in your home throughout the year. Let’s go through them, shall we?
Clothes – A laundry room with free access to washing machines and dryers are but a few feet from his dorm yet he is at our doorstep, weekly, with his Santa sized bag of dirty clothes for his laundry service, mom and nan, to fluff and fold. I think the complete mind-numbing boredom of waiting for your clothing to wash and dry, not to the mention the deafening noise of responsibility, was too much for him to attempt to do this himself. I really can’t talk though, I also had my own home laundry service and still do.
Food – Along with free access to a laundromat he is also provided three, free squares a day on campus, one of which is a buffet in his dorm building. By the way nothing is free, it’s just all included with the bargain basement cost of staying on campus. If it were me they would have to pry my ass out of those eateries as I would take full advantage, hourly. No, that is not the case with my oldest. Another benefit of living so close is that he gets mom and dad to take him to lunch and dinner, weekly. He still has half of his food credits left which he will lose half of in one week. Money well spent.
Car – He is one of the fortunate students to have a car at college which means, maintenance services, tires and gas money are only a short 20-minute drive north to Dad’s Garage. Open all night.
Shopping – All he needs to say are the magic words, “I need new clothes” and poof, the magic shopping fairy, who goes by many names, but we will run with “Mom”, is at his doorstep with credit card in hand.
– College isn’t cheap. When I was his age I worked a full-time job and attended college, at night, to get my bachelor’s degree. When I received my degree, my education was paid for in full and I still had money left over to blow it on stupid things. Not now, the tuition and costs associated with attending even a public college, is a small fortune.
– Fraternity life is somewhat like the movies. My son’s frat house makes Delta House look like a mansion in Bel Air. If you don’t know what Delta House is please stop reading. They drink cheap beer and the only time they actually get to drink “expensive” beer, Shiner, is on parent’s night. They are a brotherhood and after high school football ending, I can see how he would want to be part of something like a fraternity. It suits him well.
– Grades. He found out that college is actually hard work. It’s deceiving, as college provides so much freedom and opportunity for fun that it’s easy to let it get away from you. He got to spend many a late nights in the library.
That is it! Everything now is right as rain as my son is home and my family is intact again, at least for the summer. I will relish these days and hope they go by slowly, much like my boys do, but for different reasons.