Thursday, July 8, 2010

College Is Calling!

Milestones come in all shapes and sizes and in a multitude of situations.  Today was a major event in my son's life.  He started back to college as a regular college student and not a dual enrollment student.  The rules changed, the structure changed and the expectations changed.  He has grown up and is turning into an adult right before my eyes.  Can it be?  Can this really be happening?

He actually asked to drive.  I was in shock.  He hates driving.  So, an hour in advance, we loaded up and headed out to the campus (which fortunately, is only 15 minutes from our house).  He was at the wheel, doing fairly well, but nervous and finally got us there in one piece, however, we really have to practice more, especially on parking in a full parking lot.  It was a bittersweet experience from start to finish.  Another one of those, taking responsibility for myself situations on his part and mom just sitting there with foot pushed to the floorboard on the invisible brake pedal and the pretend steering wheel clutched tightly in my white knuckled hands.  At that point, I stopped hyperventilating.  We had arrived safely and he was out of the car and heading towards the classroom building.

"See you at 10", I shouted.  

"See you mom, love you" came back to me.

This was a day that I really didn't think would ever happen, and here it was unfolding right before my eyes.  I love that kid!

By now, I've done everything a mom can do, I've quietly and inconspicuously worked out all of the kinks and hurdles to try and make this a positive experience for him.  He announced that he wants to drive as much as he can, so he can get his license by the end of the summer.  Obviously, we have to get in A LOT OF PRACTICE there!  I think the trauma of the trip today was due to first day nerves about his college classes.  We will get there.  It will happen.  Everyone should take lessons in determination from this kid.  I'm sorry, young man, because that is what he is now.

I watched as he walked into the building and realized that I had a tear running down my cheek.  I have got to stop this!  I will be a dehydrated mess by the end of the quarter if I keep this up.

I kept my phone by my side all evening.  My husband asked a dozen times, "have you heard from him yet?"  

"No".  I am under the firm belief that sometimes no news is good news.  

I had already decided that I was leaving at 9:30 to pick him up, in case they got out early, but they beat me to the punch and before I even had my keys in hand, he called and announced "I'm done.  Come get me."

Now, I've told you before that this "young man" is not afraid to be himself.  We coached before going to the college about the right time and the wrong time to "be yourself" and that an adult college situation may not be the time for his comical character to make an appearance.  We gave all of the solid reasons for that statement and it was accepted with a "yes ma'am".  I was hopeful that I would arrive and see him mingling with other students.  Heavy sigh, there he was stretched out on the sidewalk with his head on his book bag, "star gazing".

Obviously, his personality had totally taken over and ignored and blocked out all of the efforts from the earlier conversation we had.  I flipped out in the car on the way home and did the whole "what were you thinking speech" and the importance of acting like a grown up in this situation, and then I remembered the speech in his honor at the banquet for the graduates from his school, and suddenly, I felt very humbled in the presence of this fearless, spectacular young man sitting in the car with me, and I dropped the whole subject.

College is calling.  Yes it is, and it calls on him to do his best and learn and excel.  It is not calling to ask him to change who he is.  After all, I know a lot of grown ups that are kids at heart, myself included.  He wouldn't be the incredible person that he is without that carefree, comical spirit.

Love you son, and I am so proud of you!