Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The College Years

Ah, the beginning of a new era.

Please permit me to inject sound effects of screeching tires, needle scratching across a record.

When my little bundle of love was born I had huge hopes for him. It's natural for any parent to imagine what great things their newborn will be capable of accomplishing. It's easy because that version of the future is so far off ...

Now, insert the sound effect of a rocket blasting off or race cars speeding around the track.

Time flies, yo'!

Being the only parent consistently in my son's life, I admit to over protection. It is a fact. Mancub has heard my admission time and time again along with apologies for having done so. I am that mom who would have wrapped her child in bubble wrap in order for him to play football.

You laugh. I am serious.

When I dropped him off for his first day of Kindergarten I had to pull off the road to sob. Then, repeat until arriving at home to completely break down.

He survived, but not without countless challenges and he did so without mommy standing beside him. My protective services were not necessary 24/7, but that didn't hinder my need to try. At some point it was instilled in him that even though I was not physically there he could still rely on mom to take care of things should it get too rough.

The years did indeed fly by. My hair is completely gray, or platinum if you prefer to flatter me. Mancub managed to graduate from high school only mildly scathed from jerks we all encountered along our paths. His grades weren't only acceptable but exceptional.

CRAP! The next step in his life is college or get a full-time job. No, college is the way to go.  Early on in his senior year of high school he set his mind to attend community college. Believe it or not, I did encourage him to look elsewhere... expand his horizons. He's stern in his decisions. A part of me likes to think he doesn't want to move away from me as much as I don't want him to move. He says he knows college is expensive and he doesn't want to burden me with the cost. Sure, kid. He has it easy here in comparison to many kids. We aren't wealthy, but it is ... home.

Judge all you want. I'll just tell you to STFU.

Seriously.

Initially when enrolling for classes Mancub signed up for online courses. His advisor failed to mention how intense those can be for an incoming freshman. Really, as nice as she was, she offered little guidance. He dropped those classes and picked up on-campus courses.

Yesterday, Tuesday, August 20, 2013, my 6'4" bambino completed his first day of college. With having only one car and his resistance to driving, he utilizes the city bus system. In an attempt to cling to what's left of my baby boy, I offered to drop him at the stop. He accepted. Hey, the kid was pacing with a nervous stomach. As we approached the stop and the car came to a halt, he leaned to me for a kiss and a hug. Then, my heart ripped from my chest as he left me. It was Kindergarten all over again.

Another milestone.

I wept.

Knowing a co-worker and friend was also attending classes, I texted her to let her know Mancub would be on campus. "Look for him." She replied that she saw him in a class in the front row. They exchanged waves. He made it without me holding his hand. Not that there was doubts.

Emotionally letting go of our kids is painful. The process begins from the moment we hear their first cry. As we hold them close in our protective embrace, we also teach them to be independent ... we're knowingly setting them up to fly the nest. It is a constant struggle of what we know is best with what we want to truly do. That is, entwine them in bubble wrap and never let anything harm them.

It is and always will be my instinct to always check under the bed for monsters, fling my stop arm across his chest in the car, beat down anyone who dares not to like him. Yet, it is clearly evident he has been raised to be a survivor; a champion of himself.

As for me ... the story continues. Time to write a new chapter.