Today was a milestone for my Southern Man and I, our daughter, my Mom, sister, brothers, and most especially, our son: he is officially a college student. Today was the day we dropped him off at the University, thus ending one more chapter of our lives and his, and starting new ones. It was a milestone for him and us for obvious reasons, but also for the others I listed because he is the oldest child/brother/grandchild/nephew of my immediate side of the family and the first one of this next generation to go to college.
When he was born, we were warned of how quickly time would pass, a tidbit of advice that was repeated when our daughter was born several years later. Those words have echoed in our minds as we’ve watched our children grow. Each milestone they have reached as they’ve grown has caused, at times, a myriad of emotions and that was certainly the case, today.
As his mother, I have had to learn, over the past year or two how to let go of our son–and it’s been a rocky, exceedingly difficult path at times, with ample prayers lifted up, not just for him, but also for myself. I had to really put my trust in God and put our son into His hands. I have to believe that we have done the best we could do as parents, to build a strong foundation upon which our son has developed and will continue to grow as he finds his path and direction in life. There have been arguments, tears, laughter, worry, pride, slammed doors, hugs, eye-rolling, pats on the back, advice, throwing up of hands, and heart-to-heart talks galore. It has been a transitional stage for all of us where we have gone from being parents in our children’s faces, at times, telling them what to do, to backing off and offering our opinions and advice. I have to say that my Southern Man has been much better at this one that I have been. Once I was finally able to step back, it then became a tough concept for our son to get, I think.
After our very stressful move to our new location, I finally had had enough and had one direct talk with him about much, but especially this: that as his mother, who loves him dearly and has only his best interests at heart, whatever I say is now to be considered my opinion and/or advice, which I will always offer, not a command telling him what to do. Ultimately, the decision regarding whatever, is his to make–as are the consequences. It’s a challenging life lesson we all have to learn–and it’s often a long and difficult lesson, taught over and over again with many new situations. I think after that talk, he “got” it, and another hurdle on the way to leaving the nest was passed, not to mention our relationship was noticeably improved .
The last couple months have been good, but full of a certain level of apprehension for all of us, I think, as we got closer to today’s big event. As we were driving home after getting him settled into his dorm and a quick lunch at Momma Goldberg’s Deli, I told my Southern Man that I have a mix of emotions regarding our son leaving home. Based on my own memories of and experiences in college (most of them), I am happy and excited for him. As his mom, I am sad and concerned; sad that he’s no longer the little boy (I miss him!) and concerned that I can’t take care of his “boo-boos” or direct his path. That is where I will turn my face to God, ask Him to take away my worries, to protect our son, and pray that he will also look to God for guidance in his decisions, in college and beyond. That is probably a perpetual parental prayer. (Say that ten times, fast!) I also feel a little relieved–not as in “Whew! Thank God THAT’S over and he’s GONE! Let’s turn his room into a workout room!”, but “Whew! We got him to this point, alive and without any major damage! I think he’ll do okay!”.
So that was today’s adventure. I still have filling in to do about our past months and will have more to say of the future ones, of course. For tonight, though, I am going to let this particular milestone sink in. I think it’s going to take a few days, maybe weeks. Life doesn’t wait though, so there’s not much time to sit down and dwell on something for too long; there’s always something new coming down the pike. For instance, on Monday our daughter starts her next year of high school! A few more years and she will be going to college. Yeah…let’s not go there quite yet!