This is the fourth time we’ve done this. Sending off kids to college. I remember when our two children went away to school it was hard. I’d walk by their rooms and a wave of sadness would hit me. Some nights I would wonder where they were and what they were doing. The old question: “Do you know where your children are...” drove me crazy. It was closing chapter-opening chapter time. They were both on the cusp of adulthood and I did not like these new chapters one bit.
If that was enough we sent our first grandchild away to school and she finally made it. Amazing Grace’s “Through many dangers toils and snares...” reminds me of then and her. Now our youngest grandchild is leaving home for college. And it’s funny but the same feelings I had with my own children I now have for my grandchildren.
Of course we parent-types have to issue out advice before they leave. Not only brush your teeth, eat fruits and vegetables, wear deodorant, go to church and watch out for the boys.
But there are larger concerns. I told my granddaughter, Libby the other day, “Guess what—you are going to be homesick.” She said, ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’ Well, as she got closer to leaving day—it happened. I also told her that everybody else who goes away to school have the same feelings. “Now,” I said, “they’re not going to admit it—but they will have the same feelings you will experience.” It goes with the territory of college—but you survive—and you are better for it.
“Remember,” I said, “when you were homecoming queen and won all those awards for running—it felt great. Well, guess what. All freshman start off on the same level. You may have been famous back in high school and somebody may even thought you were a genius. No more. You are at the starting gate just like you were when you started high school. Except—hopefully—you are older and wiser. When you feel like a nobody all over again—remember these feelings go with the territory. But these worries are universal and they, too shall pass.
“Now to the good part. You’ve got a chance to start over. All that stuff you hated about home or school or town? You can put all those yesterdays behind you. It’s like that tablet they gave you in the first grade—no smudges, no mistakes—nothing—just a brand new tablet—and you really can decide what goes on those lines and those pages.
“You’ll meet new friends. You’ll learn some things you never knew. You’ll probably still be growing. There will be trips to take and adventures you never thought of. And you’ll begin to slowly learn that this new chapter called adulthood is not as bad as you thought. Making your own decisions—with nobody to tell you what to do—it be a mite scary—but flapping your wings just may be great.
“You’ve got a running scholarship. Remember all those races when your parents and friends stood on the sidelines screaming ‘Go...Go...Go.’ Well—they won’t be there with you but most of them are cheering you on, praying for you every night and are so very proud of where you are and what you’re doing.
“Test the water. Then dive in. The water’s great. No sharks. No cramps to stop you. Just miles and miles of blue water and sunshiny days—maybe even a few jellyfish—but not many. You will find a whole new life. Do you know how many people out there that would give anything to be where you are?”
(Libby has just spent her first week at Limestone College in South Carolina--flap your wings and fly girl, flap your wings and fly.)
RogerLovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com