Over Already? Jun05

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Over Already?

“The days are long, but the years fly by.” These words from a fellow parent at graduation as we reminisced about the day we dropped our sons off for freshman year of college stuck with me. Wasn’t it only last week we loaded up our cart at Bed Bath & Beyond and then trekked up four flights of stairs to that first dorm room? Wasn’t it only last week that we said goodbye for the first time? Where did the time go?

Four years have passed. During that time, even though it was our son attending college and not us, his school became “our” school.  We were excited, and a bit envious, about our son attending college across the country, away from home, getting to taste life (and weather) on the east coast – an experience my husband and I never had. We jumped in with both feet, wanting to experience, if only on the sidelines, what it was like for our son. We went to school sports and arts events, we bought and proudly wore shirts, hats and sweatshirts bearing the school name, we admired the beautiful campus when we visited, and we cheered his college teams along, just as we had cheered our own teams when we were in college. And we loved it. And now it is over. How did we get here?

Sitting at graduation, beaming with pride along with all of the other parents, I could not help feeling a bit sad. Our time of visiting this school, attending school events and buying hats and shirts at the campus bookstore, has come to an end. When might we be here, in this place, again? No longer having a student at this school, and not being alums ourselves, we have little reason to make a special trip to visit the campus. After four short years, how do we simply just move on?

Of course, now that our son is an alum, he will no doubt be contacted by the school and the alumni association and find his own way to stay connected to his college. Our involvement with the college is suddenly much less important. Sure, the school may still call from time to time seeking money, but the truth is that our job as “partners” with the school to ensure our student’s success is done. We did what we were supposed to do. We supported him, sent him care packages, took his late night calls, gave him advice when asked, and tried to let go and let him figure things out on his own so he could grow up. And we knew this time would end. In fact, on some level, we wanted it to end, if for no other reason than to stop paying those tuition bills! But who knew it would go so fast?

It is now time for him to go out and make his own life. He has finished college and is ready for what comes next. It has been only four years since he left the nest for college, but my how he has grown. What a journey it has been. He is definitely ready for this new phase. But I have to wonder, am I?


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