Daily Archives: August 5, 2011
It’s August. It’s hot. It’s time to send the kids back to school.
Yeah, I know, those of you living in more civilized parts of North America are thinking I’m crazy. But, here in Georgia, school starts in August. That means it’s time to scurry to the stores and wrestle with the other parents for school supplies. The stores have loads of them, right there next to the Halloween candy and costumes.
This year, back to school shopping has taken on a new twist in our house. Instead of driving to five different stores to find the ‘perfect’ binder for my son, we are seeking out extra-long twin sheets, desk lamps, and a mini-refrigerator. Yep, my baby is going to college! Seriously, wasn’t he just in first grade? I have to go on the record here and say he cares nothing about the sheets or desk lamp. He is mightily interested in the size of the fridge, however.
By this time next week, my first born will be moving into his campus dorm room three hours away from home. Now, as any parent of a college student will tell you, your child is supposed to be ornery, defiant, and just downright obnoxious the summer before they leave for college. According to this unwritten law of nature, this behavior makes their mama’s not miss them so much once they’ve gone.
Yeah, I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Right now, I am feeling a myriad of emotions, but none of them sadness. Okay, I might feel a twinge of melancholy that the little boy who used to let me dress him in cute clothes has morphed into a smelly, almost-man who won’t wear madras shorts. But, I also feel a great deal of pride in his accomplishments. It’s hard to get into college these days! My son worked diligently (most of the time) to get himself admitted to the school and academic program of his choice.
However, if I’m being honest here, the emotion I’m experiencing most is envy. I’m jealous of the amazing opportunities he will have these next few years. I don’t mean the football games, keg parties, and spring break in Florida—although those will definitely be on his radar. I’m talking about the freedom to figure out who he really is. The clean slate to create the life he dreams of; the ability to live outside the bubble of his family and develop his own world view. Several of my friends, whose children are also leaving for college this month, told me they could easily relate, saying they’d like to go back to college for a “re-do”.
Except it’s not really a “re-do” I’m looking for. The decisions I made while in college weren’t always the right ones, but I learned just as much from my wrong choices as I did from the curriculum. Besides, the path I chose has been pretty good to me. I had a wonderful career; I found a great partner to share my life with and, together we have made a wonderful family consisting of our children and a wealth of stead-fast friends that I wouldn’t “re-do” even slightly.
No, I think my envy stems from the whole mid-life thing. It’s easy for us “forty-somethings” to get caught up in our children’s lives and lose sight of our own. Then, when they no longer need us for their day-to-day care, it’s natural to fall into the trap of feeling a little jealous of their seemingly stress free lives.
Dreaming of the “re-do”.
But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to channel my “college envy” into a passion for beginning my “third career”: commercial fiction author. I’m going to take my own clean slate and create something fulfilling for me. Hopefully, when I come out on the other side of my mid-life, both my son and I will have successful careers to celebrate!
Now, if I could get a “re-do” on some of the crazy hairstyles I had in college, that would be nice.
What about you? Would you re-do portions of your past?