Your teen is entering the last year of high school. That means it is time to get ready for college. Admissions, Visits, Tests, and Financial Aid….Oh My! That was my very thought too.
This will be my first child to go to college. Now I appreciate all of the hard work that my parents put into my college admissions. As I round this point of parenthood I find myself looking back more and more. Remembering how he used to run to me to give me hugs, or be so anxious to help me with the chores. All of the movies that we have watched together, and outings we have attended. I really did not know how quickly I would blink and he would be 17….going on 18.
Time to start letting go. But how? Millions of other parents have had to let go, why is this so hard? Is is because I haven’t taught him everything he needs to know? As we began to wade through the mountains of paperwork that lies ahead, or begin to visit colleges on our list I look at this time with hope.
Hope that I can instill a few more values in him. A few more cautionary tales or thoughts. Remind him to look to God for direction and answers. There will be time as we drive to appts. to talk. Overnight trips to colleges will give us time to discuss thoughts and feelings.
My hope is to have more heart to heart talks so that I know what his heart is telling him to do. Hopefully he chooses a college or career after much prayer and consideration. As I said, I remain hopeful to have some last minute bonding, but also time for letting go. Not just me, but him. He is starting a new world, a life where he makes the decisions and I have to succumb to that reality.
My son has to start being accountable for himself as he maneuvers his college schedule when he gets one. It will be a change to work on exams and papers while trying to attend classes. Will he make the right decisions? I think so. But like every young person he will also make mistakes, and I will be here to listen and guide him. Not tell him…but guide through life’s obstacle course. His room may not be emptied yet, but sometimes I walk by and think “what will it be like when he is not here”? It will be different. It will be strange. It will be lonely for me as I adjust. Yes, he has other siblings, and I will feel the same way as they grow. But this time, I cherish each good and bad moment with them.
I journal our special occasions or the funny things they say. Every now and then I get a picture of my teen when he is not looking. I also grab kisses and hugs through food and bribery… sometimes I am given a hug out of his teenager comfort zone. It is definitely when no one is around. He knows that I love him and will do anything in this world to help him.
My son does have a good set of values instilled in him, he just has to reach and use what he has been taught. So with joy I will start the task of filling out financial aid forms, calling to make visits, and studying for the SAT test. But as a mother of four boys I know this is important to get into a college, but not for growing into a man. Growing into a man requires us to use all of the values an knowledge that parents, mentors, pastor’s and teachers have instilled into the youth of today. Have you prepared a child for college or job and looked with worry and anticipation toward the future?
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