I’m not really sure how to start this…but he isn’t going back.
This is the weekend…the weekend that everyone’s college-aged kids head off to new adventures at the college of their dreams – nervous, excited, but ready. Ok, most aren’t really ready but they sure think they are.
Moms and Dads are lugging multiple car-loads of bedding, desk supplies, mini-refrigerators, gaming systems (really!), room decorations and a few mementos from home to college cities and towns around the country.
We did that…last year. We thought we did everything right! We talked to the roommate and his family in advance (boys don’t coordinate bedding but we had to know who would bring the big screened tv – hey, maybe it was the tv’s fault!)
We bought everything in one big, incredibly systematic shopping spree at Bed, Bath and Beyond. We had all of the pre-requisite discussions about going to class, meeting new people, fraternity parties, girls, “No” means “No”, oh, and more conversations about going to class.
We left him after lunch to head home while he went off to an orientation event.
I cried. I sat in my car and hoped – “Please let him be happy and successful!”
He did a jig. He sat on his new, vinyl desk chair and thought, “Free at last!”
Fast forward through fraternity rush, coursework, football rivalries, dropped courses he should have never been told to take, an on-campus job, sleep (lots of sleeping), new coursework, some good friends, lots of reassurances of “Yeah, Mom, everything is great!”, a serious medication mix-up at the pharmacy, a shoplifting charge, less coursework, pot, booze, more sleeping…
In May, he sat tired, depressed, defeated and ashamed in my office and said, “I’m not going back.”
My heart was broken – for him. And for me.
They’d take him – because we’d pay – but he won’t.
I am proud that he is smart enough to know that he isn’t ready to go back – well, I am trying to be.
I want him to want it.
So he is taking a different route – I am so grateful that he is still on the road, honestly.
He is going to Community College this fall.
He won’t know anyone. There are no fraternities. No football rivalries. Still lots of coursework. There will still be pot, booze, and more reassurances, I guess.
It is so hard, as a parent, to let go of hopes, dreams, and the “X College Mom” t-shirt. Can’t it just be easy? But we all have to let go – that is the work of parenting.
I don’t know what else to do except to hold him – as he gets his feet back on the ground – in my heart.
And hope – again.
Until next week…Be Wise!