Nineteen Years Ago Today

Nineteen years ago today, I woke up after feeling a huge rubber band snapping in my belly.  Of course, it really wasn’t my husband snapping me with office supplies, but my body and my son deciding that was the “big” day.

I had been pregnant for the previous 41 weeks and like many other moms during that time frame, had put together a nursery, bought and washed little clothes, stockpiled diapers and gone to classes to learn how to give birth.  However, none of that prepared me for the reality shock – I was about to have a baby!  I was about to become responsible for a little person for the rest of my life.  How would we afford braces and a car, when would I do potty training, would it harm him if I went back to work, how would I discipline him, and……..the list of questions went on and on.

With a first baby, the only thing that hits you harder than a labor pain is reality.

Over the last nineteen years, my time was spent doing things things I knew, such as cooking, cleaning, driving and laundry, laundry, laundry.  I also spent a lot of time doing things I didn’t already know how to do, from learning how  to differentiate between baby cries, standing up for my decisions on child rearing, to constantly shifting how I balanced comfort, discipline, expectations and fun.  There were times I was not prepared and had to take action on the fly.  There were other times I was so totally prepared, but didn’t have to use those skills.  (We didn’t have the terrible twos, but the independent threes were something else.)

Nineteen years after my beautiful baby boy was born, I’m still learning.  I’m in the learning curve of being a parent to a (almost) grown up.  I can see my earlier work in his decision making and his reaction to the occasional bad decision.  I still worry and still do his laundry when he is home from college but I’m learning to sit back and let him take the reins of life.

So, Happy Birthday Calvin!  I’m so happy you came home for your birthday and brought your laundry!

Living on Campus

My son has already locked in his housing choice for 2014-2015 year at college.  He informed me that all his friends were selecting “the Quad”, a residence hall made up of units with four private bedrooms that share 2 bathrooms and a “living room”, and that he was selecting that option as well.

I think this is a great idea.  There are cheaper options, including living off campus, but I see this as a way to have some of the good stuff of living off campus while still having some control of the surroundings.  Having lived in different apartments in this same college town, I remember the different venues offered different life lessons such as: you can wear three sweatshirts inside to stay warm, walls don’t always keep you from hearing your neighbor’s conversation and apartments feel more claustrophobic if you don’t clean and declutter occasionally.  Already Calvin is learning about the last lesson in his 14 ft x 11 ft dorm room that is shared with a roommate.  Calvin has always been a bit of a “horizontal filer” (meaning all his belongings are on any horizontal surface) but now with limited space that must be shared, he is becoming a little more creative.

Other great things about living on campus: fire alarms and sprinklers in the buildings, tornado shelters and campus wide warnings, and from a student’s perspective, the ability to get up 15 minutes before class starts and still make it on time.

Like many young people, my son is chomping at the bit to be grown up.  To be on his own. And I’m glad he feels that way.  However, there are so many years ahead of apartment living, commuting and paying bills that I think he should enjoy these years on campus that are relatively carefree when it comes to housing, food and commuting.  Perspective is a funny thing.