Saturday, August 16, 2014

So Your Kid Is Off To College?

Our Scientist will soon begin his senior year of college. On the very same day, our Engineer will begin his senior year of high school. I know. Trust me. I can't believe it either. I've never been that great with math...but seriously...it just doesn't add up. There's no way that many years have passed since holding those sweet little newborn babies in my new momma arms.

And yet...here we are. They both tower over me now. Instead of me squatting to them...they are bending down to me. It's a fact that both amuses and saddens me. They are growing into amazing men. They are...for the most part....making choices and conducting themselves in a way very pleasing to Hubby and I. On pretty much any given day, we find something to be quite proud of when it comes to them.

As I think about my goal of Celebrating School Days this month...I can't help but think about how we got here and where this is all going with our sons. Their first day of preschool...kindergarten...high school...and college are firmly planted in my forever memory. Those were days of mixed feelings: excitement and heartache.

To preserve my sanity...I try not to think much about the after college days. All I can really acknowledge right now is that it is clear things are gonna change...big time.

The first day of college was the most difficult one for us. That one was ALL THE FEELINGS! For our little family, it meant leaving our Scientist in a state far far away...All. By. Himself.

It was a CRAZY plan. Who came up with this idea? And please tell me...who approved it? Because it was totally unreasonable and ridiculous.

And yet...that's what we did. We left him there....697 miles away from us. That's over 11 hours away by car. Let me tell you, it didn't happen without lots of tears...heartache...and prayers.

And you know what? It was the craziest...most ridiculous....incredibly unreasonable....horribly painful decision we made as a family. It was also the right thing to do. It was a huge blessing to our son. It wasn't always easy...he's had some difficult days at college...but it has been the best experience for him!

Hubby and I have cried...cheered...argued...prayed...lectured...rolled our eyes... chuckled...coached....advised....loved...understood...misunderstood...yelled...prayed... muttered...laughed...rejoiced....and prayed with (and at) our Scientist through these past three years of college.

Yep. All the feelings.

Of course, our Engineer will continue taking college classes as the main part of his high school senior year curriculum. Having him still at home with us, but experiencing college level education is also a unique experience.

It's a fine line for us to balance. As we guide and assist him in developing good study habits and practices, we are still trying to let him figure some of it out on his own. That can be exceedingly challenging as well.

This parenting gig isn't easy...but it is an incredible gift of ups and downs...happiness and pain...sweet times of holding tight...and extremely tough times of letting go.

So today as I Celebrate School Days, I want to send a loving shout out of encouragement to all of the parents who are sending off their brand new college freshman this month. Whether they are moving into a dorm and will be far away from home, or taking local classes and commuting from home...you are beginning a new season of life and things are changing at a rapid pace for your child and you.

Hubby and I have been there. We have felt the pain and cried the tears and lived to tell this tale. Your heart will ache with this change, but you will get used to your new normal. They will too.

And if it's just too much and try as you might you just can't adjust? Well then...do what we did: Give it a good three year try and then move to your child's college town! It worked for us.

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