August 3, 2017
As we savor the last weeks of summer, my mind turns to a major change to our lives. This fall, three of our four children will head to college.
Before I go on, let me explain why I share this. I know that you are far more interested in your children than mine, but I also know that we are all parents. When my children were younger, I appreciated hearing from veteran parents about the transitions their children (and they) would go through. With three incoming college Freshman and one high school sophomore, I realize that I am now that veteran.
With that in mind, I am sharing my thoughts about this important year.
Before I go any further, please let me explain why we have 3 going at the same time. Our older daughter tested out of a grade level and has been with her twin brothers for 7 years.
We have loved having a loud and chaotic home. Sure, perhaps we spent way too much time driving our kiddos to different events, but being parents has been our greatest joy.
We did manage to delay this transition year. Last year, we took a “gap year”, during which we backpacked through multiple countries for almost 6 months. We became very familiar with street food of multiple varieties and stayed ay many hostels. During our trip, we came to truly appreciate how mature our children had become, with sophisticated senses of humor and surprisingly good judgment.
Clearly they are ready for college.
I am simply not sure that we are ready for them to go.
It seems to me a cruel irony that our progeny leave the home just as they become truly delightful company. We would really appreciate if they would stay. But apparently they have some interest in “starting their own lives” and “broadening their horizons”.
I know. Kinda selfish of them. But I guess we will need to go with it.
So the day after camp, I will drive with Wiley (one of our twin boys) to deliver him to Davidson College, my alma mater. I have never spent 20 hours one-on-one with him before. Part of me wants to impart all my wisdom to him. The other part of me realizes that this might be exactly what he fears. So I am hoping to choose just a few pearls of wisdom. I remember that my dad told me that, “he never met anyone that regretted working too hard their Freshman year”. I also want to make recommendations about sleeping schedules. If he stays up too late, he can get spacy.
When I get back home, Susie Ma’am and I will help Liam and Terrill move into their housing at the University of Texas. Again, I feel a desire to share critical bits of insight with them. They will both be joining 2 honor programs and I know the academic load will far surpass anything they have seen at Marble Falls High School.
But as I think about my concerns, I realize that they are really mild ones. I am much less worried than many of their peers’ parents. Susie Ma’am and I do not worry about them navigating a new world on their own. We are not concerned about their ability to make friends, adapt to an unusual schedule or adopt new traditions. Camp has prepared them for the aspects of college that are hardest for many Freshmen – being away from home, self-advocacy, independence, comfort with failure and uncertainty.
So, as I reflect on their imminent departure, I realize my emotions are more about missing them than worrying about them. That is comforting.