It’s been a minute since I have written. The summer has flown by us and life is getting back to “normal”; however one defines that word.
This summer brought many great memories and as fall approaches I can’t help to be nostalgic. They say that the hours are long but the days are short. I don’t really think I knew what that meant up until now.
We spent the summer with family and friends making memories whether it was camping, the beach, trips to the shore or running in circles for the kids travel teams. We soaked up the memories as another fun summer.
I have watched many of my friends dealing with their kids leaving for college these last few weeks.
I have cried more times than I even care to admit. I have a sophomore and junior in high school. I have written about them many times before. All of a sudden I am feeling a gut wrenching feeling about having to let go soon and let them be independent. I am not going to lie. Even though I have some time before this happens; I have been in a slight panic mode. My son is getting letters in the mail almost daily from college. He always said he wanted to stay home and now all of a sudden he is thinking about going away. If I am being transparent that literally makes me physically ill. I know tens of thousands of students do this every fall. But, it’s true my life has revolved around my kids. I would never stop them from going away. But, it won’t be easy.
How do we teach them all they need to know? It has taken me decades to have the knowledge that I have; how do you impart these nuisances to your kids.
I wish I had the answers to my own questions but, I don’t. I pray that I have instilled in them all the aspects of what I see as a good human being. I don’t want to be worried they will be like I was in college or that they will make bad choices or not do well in their classes.
I want to be able to let go and trust their choices. We cannot hold their hand the whole way. As much as college is a new experience for our children; it is also a new experience for us. We as parents go through a lot of change and growth. We have to remember not to put our shit on them. They need to go out and explore the world just as we did without us having so many expectations.
I am trying to refrain from telling them enjoy these years they are the best of your life. I feel like it is so much pressure.
I am already getting used to them not being home as much between parties, friends and sports. They are not at home as much as they used to be. I laugh when I check their location from time to time. In our generation; once we went out that was it for our parents. There was no way to locate us or know where we were. Our parents did not have access to call us or to locate us in a moment’s notice. They just said be home at this time.
Another component is helping them to become fiscally responsible. At this point it is time to be honest about the financial aspects of college. The discussion about student loans, ability to afford incidental expenses, books, dorm vs. home; etc.. You need to work with your child on making a budget and being really honest about what you can afford to contribute.
My husband kids around that he cannot wait until the kids turn eighteen. He thinks we are going to be going back to partying, going out and having the house to ourselves. I am pretty sure he is going to be crying. He can’t even handle it when they go out on the weekends. I will probably be having to console him and won’t even have time to wallow in my own empty nest.
There are days I commiserate with friends about why I took on so many volunteer positions, driving these kids back and forth to sports, being on committees and fundraising. But, truth is told it’s the things I look forward too. It reminds me of my own mother and all she did for my sister and me. I know when all is said and done I will miss all the late nights, long rides and bitching with friends about how the same parents are always the ones who do all the work. At the moment I am writing this blog as I text with my cheer board cohorts about all work that has to be done. Hopefully, it will give me more time to also focus on my blogging. It is hard to keep up with writing and doing all the stuff that needs to get done.
Until next month …………………………………………
Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking. She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager. When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.