College, already? How to say goodbye to your child.

College, already? How to say goodbye to your child.

College bound
My son packed for college and it only took him half a day.  I may be a procrastinator but I don’t think I would have ever waited till the day before leaving to begin packing for one of the biggest transitions of my life.  I sat there with a double edged sword  – judging him, inside of myself for him waiting till the last minute and the other side of me with my heart melting, savoring every last minute of the messy room as I help him fold his wrinkled clothes and put it into boxes.

When I look back on the last 18 years of raising my son, especially the last 4 years of “teendom”, there are many things I would have, could have or I think he should had done differently.

Flashback to a year ago – 12th grade preparing for college. It took probing, reward systems, threats – blood, sweat and tears just to get the applications out, to get things accomplished and to get him to where he is right now.  I would have, could have got it done so much quicker and easier, but this was his job to do, his learning and his lessons.  I don’t know if we had it better or not than kids do today but back in my day we didn’t have the internet, we had to research college either with a counselor that wasn’t groomed to hand hold you through the process. To find a scholarship or grant meant looking through a yearly book that was updated and you had to send them a letter on the typewriter to get more information about it.  And, to research a school meant – RESEARCHING the school from a huge book of colleges. We couldn’t just turn to the internet and find the information, magically at your finger tips.  These kids these days, they really do have it so easy.

Flashback to high school years – I would have, could have applied myself differently than him. Finishing projects to completion, not waiting till the last minute, not following through with paperwork and lots of forgetfulness and etc., etc., etc.

Flashback to middle school – Oh, boy – I know I can fill in the holes here and there of what I believe his imperfections are. What he could have and should have done better at, but I’m not going to even go there because I’m done with that part of my life.

Yes, I’m done with that part of my life, because he’s going to college now. And, although I hate to admit it or remember it, I know I gave my parents just as much blood, sweat and tears. I know this, because they constantly remind me about it.  When I was growing up, before reality shows were ever created my Dad would always say – “At age 14 all kids should be sent to an island to fend for themselves until 18 and then they are free to leave – that is whoever makes it out alive without them killing each other off”!  That would make for an interesting reality show now a days, right? Although, maybe not, because the kids would never want to go if there wasn’t any cell phone service on the island!  But, I think maybe he was on to something when I think about it.  I can’t really blame my son’s behaviors on being the millennial that takes everything for granted, they have everything right at their fingertips because of the internet, etc. And, after all, I don’t know how many of us would have survived our teenage years with an internet. I know I surely would have been in a lot of trouble!  But, I have to say there are always a ton of excuses, but that’s what about being a teen is all about, living and learning .

For lifetimes and generations every parent has been challenged with “teendom”.  Times may change, but teenagers never do. They are supposed to be different, they are supposed to rebel, find their own path and do things their own way – the better way  or the most opposite way from you. They are supposed to think differently an act differently because that is how they express and own what is rightly theirs, their  “Teendom”. That’s what growing up is all about. I did it, you did it – We all did it – (I know you survived because your reading this!).

I love my son, he’s turned out to be so many things I imagined for him and many thing I never imagined and that he could have and should have done differently. But, he’s my son, he’s not me and that’s what it’s all about and I’m thankful for that. He came into this world with a purpose and passion, he may not know what it is yet, but I know he will figure it out. It was my job and contract to bring him into this world but I don’t own him, I can’t make him do anything that he doesn’t want to do,  but one thing I know for sure is that he’s got to go and spread his wings. Fly birdie, fly. Sometimes his wings may not work so well, but he will learn how to use them and get him back off the ground again.

The beauty of raising a child is learning to let go. Saying live and let live and to know and accept that they are teaching you as much as you have taught them.  You see, I don’t believe that at conception things just happened and magically a baby was born. I believe that before we come here, we choose our families and our parents for a reason and there are lessons to be learned for each of us on this journey that include love, understanding, compassion and forgiveness ( lot’s of forgiveness!) I believe that if we raise our children by shifting our thoughts, that it’s our job to teach them and for them to teach us,  we can be both grow and learn as adults.  I believe we get in our own way thinking of what’s right and wrong and what is acceptable and unacceptable, which is all just an opinion anyway . We get stuck in how they could have or should have been done it or how much better you, yourself would have been able to do it. Newsflash, parenting isn’t always about US, parenting is about the interaction between you and your child.  It’s about YOU setting a good example with less judgment and fears and more unconditional love and compassion. It’s about giving them a strong core foundation so they have the ability to make THEIR decisions, not yours.  That’s good parenting, smart parenting and it’s called intuitive parenting.

I believe that everything in life is a lesson and if we practice more unconditional love, loving with less conditions and judgments and more trust in our children, we can evolve more has humans.  We must  parent with less shaming,  which is our personal opinion of right and wrong, and having more compassion and understanding for our children and situations will allow for more growth.  If we start by being positive, rather than negative – having faith in them and how we raise them,  not the way we think they should have done it or the way we would have or could have done it.

So, with a different perspective, I embrace this huge transition in his life, no matter how he packs or unpacks and no matter what mistakes he will make along the way. He’s on his own now, hundreds of miles away, making his own decisions by failing, falling, growing, being more responsible and living his life to his fullest. I know this because he’s watched me fall, fail, grow and live my live to my fullest by playing full out. I’ve given him a great foundation and set good examples for giving him safety, love, security, confidence, integrity, playtime, family time, laughter and a strong work ethic and that’s all I could ask for.

So, for my son and all kids going to college or making huge transitions in your life – Fly little birdie, fly! Fly from your little nest and never look back. You can do this, you got this, yes, you can do it!  And, for the parents reading this, love them, don’t hover, allow them to live and let live, let them make their mistakes like you did,  and above all, when they come home to visit find the positive things they have been doing so you can love on them and spoil them with no conditions and no judgments and maybe fold a little of their laundry if that’s what makes you happy.

And, now, I don’t know about you, but I get to do it all over again because my daughter just turned 13!

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