Monthly Archives: May 2013

He’s Coming Home!

It’s hard to believe, but today I will head back to Manhattan. This time I’m going to get Oldest Son and bring him back home. As of 1:30 today he will have completed his freshman year of college.

It. FLEW. By.

Completely.

I remember sitting at the dining room table last August writing a post and sobbing.  Just sobbing as I wrote. I couldn’t help myself. I knew it would all be ok, but I just wasn’t ready. And watching him walk away, actually pushing him away, that first day. Painful. The pain of that is still fresh. It seems so recent. And yet his first year is over.

I’ve learned a lot this year.

  1. I can survive what seems like the end of the world. Ok, that’s a little dramatic, but I really didn’t know how I was going to manage. I was so sad and not ready to have our family life change. But we are adaptable creatures. We figured out how to be a family of four – for the school year anyway.
  2. The way to Oldest Son’s heart is not through his stomach. {It might be through his wallet.} At the beginning of the year we would take home-made treats or chips and salsa to him. When we went back two weeks later, only a couple brownies had been eaten. {I think he might get that from his grandpa} We thought it was a fluke and sent lots of snacks for finals week. Then when we brought him home for our spring break vacation, he brought loads of snacks along. Apparently they feed him well in VZ dining hall.
  3. Middle and Youngest Son get along much better when Oldest Son isn’t here. It might be the whole odd number thing. Or maybe, I’d like to believe, its Middle Son taking on that big brother role. Doing for his younger brother like Oldest Son did for him. Buying him a treat in the morning for the day they posted drumline tryout results – he said it would either be a consolation or celebration treat. I didn’t even think of doing that! They help each other with homework, go to movies together and talk about the books they read. It’s pretty awesome. Until they start pushing each others buttons again.
  4. I don’t have to solve all his problems. I know this because he told me so. It was a tough transition for me. Each time he would call with a challenge, I wanted to jump into problem solver mode and fix it. But it’s harder to fix from a couple of hours away. When he was making plans to get home for his brother’s confirmation, it was messy. We went through so may different arrangements and one thing after another fell through. I told him this was stressing me out. He told me it shouldn’t cause it’s his problem to fix. Hmmm. True I guess. So I let go and low an behold he made it home. Lesson learned, kind of.

And now I’m excited to have him back home again. And a little anxious too! I remember how hard it was to come back home to Mom & Dad’s after I’d been on my own. They had different ideas about when I should sleep, how I should spend my days, when I should come home at night. I remember the feeling of not quite belonging. I longed to be “home” for the summer. But somehow it didn’t feel the same when I got there. It’s a weird limbo place to be. So I’m bracing myself for that, trying to keep my expectations in check. But I do have quite a Mason-can-do-that-when-he’s-home list going in my head. And his brothers have plans for him to take the dog out and feed her every day to make up for all the times he missed over the last nine months.

I guess we’ll be negotiating some ground rules and expectations on the drive back.

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Filed under Family, Parenting, School

Please Stop!

The posts about the arrogant, narcissistic, plastic, CEO and his clothing company need to end.

I agree, the brand is crap and he appears to be an amoral person. However, in the last week he has gained more media exposure than anyone could buy. I can’t imagine the number of mentions that company has had on social media – priceless. (And I have to wonder if this whole thing isn’t the brainchild of a media firm.) Yes, most of us consider the press to be negative, but buzz is buzz. And there are people who aren’t turned off by an elitist brand. You remember them from high school. Those who lived to be seen with the right people in the right clothes. They don’t change when they grow up. And often they raise their kids to be just like them. Not judging or knocking them, just telling it like it is. This media storm has just solidified the brand.

I know there is a movement to “change the brand.” But, stop for a minute and think about the message behind that approach. So to change the image from the “beautiful people” lets find the opposite to wear his clothing. Yeah, lets find some really unattractive people! I know, let’s go to Skid Row and give them the clothes! That’ll show ‘em!

Really? So just because someone is down on their luck, desperate, we can use them to make our point? Like our dog we put a costume on at Halloween; despite the humiliation? Are we really OK with that? Do we want to say to an entire group of people, “Hey you’re the opposite of beautiful. Here’s a free shirt, wear it so we can make a point.”?

I’m not OK with that.

How about, we just stop talking about him?

Stop mentioning this company?

Stop buying the clothes.

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Filed under Intention, Randomness, The State of Affairs

How Did I Get Here?

It’s not a literal question. I do remember driving here. It’s more of a philosophical question.

I’m sitting in the lobby of Oldest Son’s dorm. Feeling totally comfortable, but thinking I may look out-of-place. Like a non-traditional student as they called them back in my day. I brought Youngest Son to the college for a one-day drumline camp. And of course that means it’s the perfect opportunity to spend some time with Oldest Son! I didn’t factor in the whole college schedule thing though. He doesn’t usually function until noon on Saturday. Which brings us to me sitting in the lobby of his dorm while he gets breakfast, showers and dresses.

As I look around I’m reminded of my own college experience. In some ways it feels so fresh. There are so many things I remember distinctly. The freedom and total control of your life. I’m sure I didn’t see it quite like that when I was in college. But looking back through the prism of parenting, full-time career, home ownership and the like – well those were definitely days of freedom and total control. I think the biggest contrast between my life then and now; no one else was counting on me for anything other than succeeding. I wasn’t responsible for anyone but myself. Not complaining, or aching to go back. I do remember the stress! The pressure and the anxiety of making the grade. Ugh, don’t miss that! College is also where I met Hubby. We met sophomore year and started dating that winter {that’s a whole other, very long story for another day}. He is a huge part of my college experience! We kind of grew up together there.

But as I look around the room and think about where I am, I have to wonder how I got here. How did I become the parent of a college student? The boys were just 5, 7 & 9 and now they are 15, 17 and 19. It’s surreal. Oldest Son is finishing his freshman year of college, Middle Son is about to be a SENIOR and my baby will be a high school sophomore. Life has changed so much. The days of being carefree were replaced with total responsibility for all of those three little people’s daily needs. Everything they needed had to come from us. It was exhausting and daunting. And then, slowly, they became more self-sufficient and counted on us less and less for their physical needs. So many years spent shaping their hearts and character. Never in my life have I done anything else so important and elusive. As a parent each day you are faced with training, guiding and directing them knowing it will be years before you know if you did things “right.” And when they make what I consider great choices or good moves, I still have to wonder if they are doing it for the right reasons; if they really understood all the ramifications. I think maybe it is just natural for parents to question themselves and wonder if they did enough of the right things.

And now, as they continue to grow, my parenting role will evolve again to one more like a guidance counselor or mentor. Offering advice, when asked, making suggestions, pointing out pros and cons. It is about giving them the chance to use the skills they have gained to try to shape their own future. Letting them make mistakes; the kind they can recover from while they still have a soft spot to land. A really challenging task for someone who likes to be in control. {Not that I’m like that or anything.}

We say it so often, but time really does fly. The changes come so quickly; new experiences piling on each other. As I sit here in the lobby of the dorm I have to wonder what the next phase will be like. How will Hubby and I shape our future as empty nesters? It takes my breath away to think about how quickly we will find out. I’m sure we will stumble our way though that as well.

What advice do you have for us as we prepare for the next step?

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Filed under Advice, Family, Parenting, Uncategorized