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?


1 Comment

Filed under Advice, Family, Parenting, Uncategorized

One response to “How Did I Get Here?

  1. Laurie

    KEEP WORKING !!! College for 3 is not cheep 🙂 You have done good and you will make it during the next years as well

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