Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Off to College to pursue some Knowledge.

     Last week I took a day off from work to help deliver my son to college.  This is the 2nd of my offspring that I've had this experience with, and this blog discusses the thoughts and emotions that go along with these trips.....

     My trip out of my house was vastly different than my children's, thus far.  My Dad and Mom were firm believers in kids leaving the nest as they became adults, 12 kids will do that for you.  My departure, however, was a little more abrupt than some of my siblings.
After a few months of ignoring or breaking most of the rules of my father's house, at 18, he politely informed me that I would no longer have the pleasure of staying there anymore. I'd be lying if I said this didn't shock me at the time, but I'd also be lying if I said this harmed me in any way.  While I might regret my actions that led up to that point, and did apologize to my parents for them, it is a natural part of maturing that creates these conflicts, and my Dad recognized I needed the separation to become the man I was capable of becoming.  I'd say it worked, because I had to work harder to afford my rent, and my school tuition, but that lesson and that work ethic stayed with me from that point on.  I also learned I could count on my family during tough times, as my sister Hummingbird took me in, until the time was right for me to move from there too.  I tried to remember that lesson too, and come to the aid of my siblings and in-laws when they needed a boost too.  So, I got "kicked" out but I learned some good lessons on Independence and Charity, a fair deal, I'd say.

     When our daughter Molly left home it was our first experience with it. She left for the University at Buffalo, so she was close enough to come home when she needed to, but far enough away to assert her independence.  She shared in the costs of her college, and in fact asserted her independence by refusing to let us reimburse her for her college books two years running, although that was part of our deal.  She sure showed me.
She finds self worth in being as financially independent as possible, and I love that about her. I love it too though, when I can spoil her a little by taking her out to dinner, or dropping off a bottle for her on the way back from a Canada trip.  She remains very frugal to this day, in fact she texted us recently to show us a picture of a trunk full of groceries that she had purchased, for only $77.  When we dropped her off, Mom was so overwrought with emotion that when Molly hugged her and said "I love you Momma", all she could do was nod her head and try to stem the flow of tears.  I offered sage advice that was unneeded, she'd figure it all out in time, on her own.  I saw an example of this last week as we visited her at D'Youville College where she recently transferred for nursing.  When she left home, she allowed exactly enough time to arrive at places on time, but when we went to her campus, she left at her normal time and arrived 15 minutes before she was required to be there.  That choked me up as much as saying goodbye did to Mom the first time.  My little girl had learned the lessons we had taught her, and planning on arriving early was one of them.  

     Last week we took another step towards empty nesting by dropping our middle child, Dan,  off at the same college Molly had started at.  We were old pros at moving in, and admittedly he packed half of the stuff that Molly had packed, so we were able to bring it up in one trip. 
Shortly after we got into the room, I exited for the common area on the end of the hall, and returned some e-mails.  Those rooms get pretty tight, and we were over quota for the number of people needed to help finish unpacking, so I made myself useful by making myself scarce.  My son later thanked me for my plan, which I accepted as his acknowledgement of my moving-in wisdom.  He was smart enough to ask us to take him off campus for lunch, as he realized he'd have plenty of time to find the meal places on campus and then to get sick of them.  Smart Boy.  We went to Duff's, and I'll weigh in on the Duff's/Anchor Bar Chicken Wing debate that is so popular in Buffalo.  It's been a while since I've had Anchor wings, but I remembered them to be better than what I had at Duff's.  Duff's wings weren't crispy at all, and it spite of all the very, very's in front of the description of their hot sauce, it tasted like straight Franks Hot Sauce, and could have used a little more kick.  We dropped him off to start his college life after, and I was proud of his Mom when she was able to squeak out 2 words, "Please Call" before she broke down.  It was an improvement to last time, no matter how small.

Andy from Toy Story preparing to put childish things behind
Don't fall for the "You have to buy your sheets from the school, because our bed sizes are unique" trick.  Simply put, they aren't.  You'll surely be hit up for gift boxes to be sent by the college to your children, but if you think about it, don't you know your kid better than they do, and wouldn't they appreciate the gift box with all their favorites in it better than the same one their roommate got?  Sure they would.  I'm not a fan of visiting on Parents Weekend, why not choose your own and plan a better trip than the college puts together? It'll be a lot less crowded.  Make your kid stay in school for at least a month before you even let them consider a transfer or coming back home.  By then, they'll have adapted and like it, or they will have truly hated it, but at least they gave it a chance.  For mine, I'd make them wait until they were accepted somewhere else and could transfer without a break in the education.  I'll finish this blog with a few verses from the Bible, Corinthians 11-13

" 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

      You see, kids leaving home, for college or not, is a natural step.  You have to have Faith that your lessons will guide them, you Hope that they stay out of trouble, and you Love them either way.  We've one more to go, and I've got money that says Char gets a whole sentence out next time.  Wanna bet?


Dan Yarger said...

Couldn't agree more dad! And my money is on mom being completely silent; Nolan is the last one so it will be a bigger send off.

Sue said...

I agree with Dan. Dropping Nolan off at college will be the hardest. She will probably cry all the way home. Nolan is her baby.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I read one of your blogs that talk about how you and Char raised your children,I can't help but think I hope I can do half as good job as you guys! Even though I have many years before my "baby" goes off to college I hope she can be just as ready and independant as Molly is!

Anonymous said...

*fyi for anyone reading about the sheets for the dorms... you DO need "special" sheets (twin LONG), but you DON'T need to buy them from the college. ;] any bed bath & beyond, or wal-mart will do. I think this is why MOM did the pre-going-away-to-college shopping, Dad! lol