What I thought was going to be a couple of weeks off to get myself and my family together to send my two children off to college, get my wife through her knee surgery, and keep myself sane turned into a three month break. We dropped my daughter off at college two weeks ago and my son last week. What have I learned during this time?
- Sending your kids to college takes courage, for them and you. I always thought sending them to kindergarten would be the toughest thing I ever did. Trusting that someone would care for them as much as I did for 6-7 hours each day was unimaginable. Until I sent them off to college and there would be no one there that I could touch base with to know they were okay. No notes each day telling you what they did that day. Yes, my kids were (mostly) ready to go and I was so happy for them but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been bumps and bruises for them that have made my heart ache as I watch them struggle through these first weeks.
- When my kids ask for me to make their last meals as home when given the option of eating out it warmed my heart. My daughter wanted a German dinner with braised red cabbage, German potato salad, and brats. She would have preferred Schnitzel but I just didn’t have time to make it. My son wanted cheesy chicken and rice casserole. It is funny how different they are.
- What is good for one child may not be good for the second. As we stood on my daughter’s campus reviewing her orientation schedule we saw ice skating, Bingo, kickball, dodge ball, and a activities fair. For my son? The entire freshman class read the same book and the first three days of orientation were all centered around the book. My son was one of four freshman students chosen to have dinner with the author. They had small group discussions on the book. A session with the author and a colliquim. Then they are having a two hour session on how to have a social life at school. I thought that was really funny. Where as one school gave them all the options to be social the others school had a two hour session how to be social. That is the difference between the kids and what they need.
- Sometimes good enough is really good enough. I struggled to get everything together for my son to take to school. My daughter was easy. She knew what she wanted and needed and either ordered it herself or had me order it. To get my son to try and find stuff was tough. I know much of his reluctance was that this was the one thing in his life he could control. So, I stepped back and what was done was done. He had enough to start school and he was going to be close enough that he could figure out what he needed and he or I could order it later. I had to let him do it at his pace and schedule not mine.
- I don’t regret a minute that I have spent making memories with my family. Over the past several weeks there were a lot of “remember whens” and “when did we” discussions. Even the smallest moments are things I am holding on to now. It is also fun to hear their stories and what they remember of all those moments. What I loved were that the moments that I didn’t think were so significant were the most important to them.
So, I will be back regularly again. Meals will definitely be different as cooking for 2 will take some getting used to. Hope you will continue to follow along!