The Milestones Just Keep Coming

February 04, 2013

The University of Tampa

I spent much of Saturday with my son attending the “Florida Admitted Students Preview Day” at the University of Tampa, the college he is slated to attend in the fall. Let me just say, I don’t see how it’s possible he’s nearly ready for college. Didn’t he just learn to walk yesterday?

The college visit brought back memories of my own college days, four of the happiest years of my life. In college, I began to find out who I really was, discovered I loved to travel, fell in love for the first time, and met life-long friends (including my husband). Oh, yeah, I learned a few things, too. If my son’s experience is like mine, it’s safe to say that the child who enters will not be the same one who graduates.

Saturday, college officials start by separating parents and kids—fitting because we will soon be separated most of the time (sniffle). I find as I walk away from my son that I have confidence he is (mostly) ready for this step, that he won’t be unduly overwhelmed or nervous, as I would have been at his age. I have only mild feelings of nostalgia/angst—I’m mostly excited for him to move into this new stage of his life.

I can picture him at this school. The smaller class size, emphasis on experiential learning and more personal attention seem tailor-made for him. Not to mention the abundance of food available at all hours on the college’s meal plan. (Actually, I kind of want to go here.)

I jot plenty of notes while I listen to the director of enrollment, the director of career services and the director of financial aid (especially her!). I realize there’s a lot to do before he starts school, whether it’s exploring scholarship possibilities, collecting items for his dorm room or even registering for a class at the local community college to get a head start on credits and the college experience.

As we drive home, I find it hard not to give him advice and make suggestions about what classes and extra-curriculars he might like. Yes, I know him pretty well, but now is not the time for unsolicited advice from Mom. To quote the UT senior who spoke to the parents, “Parents should guide, but the students should lead. This is our time.”

We’ve reached another milestone, another phase of the process of letting go. One more finger of the hand holding Nick’s has been loosened. I haven’t let go, not quite yet. But I have a feeling it won’t be long now.

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  1. Gosh - your words bring me right back to that moment with each of my boys. Memories of my own past mixed with hopes for each of my sons.

    Congratulations on reaching this milestone and best wishes to your son on his exciting future!

  2. Kathy--Yes, it's very exciting. Hopefully it will motivate our son to finish strong.

  3. Thank you, Claire. I know you understand having gone through it three times now. I only hope our son realizes his good fortune and opportunities and takes advantage of them.

  4. This is such a bittersweet time for you. I remember taking my son to college the first time, almost 13 years ago now. He was excited, but also sad to be leaving his girlfriend behind, and he'd stayed out late the night before, so he was really tired and probably more scared than he wanted to admit. It was really hard to leave him there, but we stayed over one night and he was already better the next day. And in the end, it all worked out great. I'm sure it will for your son too.

  5. Cheryl--Bittersweet is the perfect word. I'm so excited for him, but I know I'm going to be very emotional when he actually leaves. This is what we've been working towards, but that doesn't mean it won't be hard to let him go.