Two weeks ago, we dropped my oldest son off for college. It was a six hour drive, and I drove the way down there. It was done purposely, and I thought that my husband didn’t really see through my charade. See, whenever we go anywhere as a family, I climb into the passenger seat, gleefully, as I think about all of the good sleep that I will be able to have as he drives the roads to our destination. This time, we were driving to deposit our child into a whole new world, and I didn’t want to sleep on it. I wanted to think about it as I concentrated on the winding road ahead of me. The day was a weird one. Super bright sun, with heavy gray clouds. Almost on cue, the heavens opened up and it started pouring.
The tears that I thought I would have, never came. It’s as if the world knew what I was feeling and decided to relinquish all of the emotions for me. I’m currently deep into a year long partnership with Kia Motors America, and they were kind enough to send us a Kia Sedona loaner to document the way that our family acclimates to becoming 5 instead of 6. The ride down was cozy. Nathaniel fell asleep immediately. He stated that the reclining captain chair that he begged us to get in our own car allowed for the proper beauty rest. Did you know it even has a foot rest for those folks who want to feel like they’re in a recliner? I still haven’t had a chance to try it out, but I plan to on our upcoming Route 66 trip.
My site is no no stranger to struggles with the teens, I’ve written about them several times as I’ve learned how to handle moods and big changes with Nathaniel I mean, when I started this blog he was “the cellist” and then he morphed into the “elusive teen” and now I can use his name. I’m not going to lie and say that I have the best child in the world. I have an amazing kid. He’s smart. He’s handsome – like for real y’all – the Lord really handed out good looks for my kids. Had I looked as good as they do at their age, you wouldn’t have been able to tell me ANYTHING! It’s also probably the reason that they STAY in the mirror. He’s caring, when he wants to be. I think that these next four years will really develop the more empathetic side of him, but it’s there. I know it.
Over the last week and some change, I’ve spoken to this kid more than I did his entire senior year of high school. At least it feels that way. He’ll never say that he misses us or home, but I’m going to fill in for him. As a parent I can do that. It’s written in my contract.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure by this point in the post, you’re wondering what I mean by “we’re” in college again. Well, Nathaniel attended college with me when he was a newborn, and while I’m not enrolled anywhere, I feel like I’m where he was 18 years ago. Observing, marveling, and just along for the ride. I’m sure I’ll be listening to something that he’s experienced without knowing a thing about it – I mean, I’m 18 years older, things have changed I’m sure. I mean, his campus is vast, his major is something I would never have thought to major in, and well, his choices in extra-curricular activities leaves me breathless. He looked for a dance squad the very first week that he was there.
I did several things on that day when we dropped him off. Things that I vowed I would never do for him – and in fact didn’t do for YEARS before he left.
I made his bed. I gave him a hug and kiss on his cheek in a restaurant. I *may* have told him that his bed and the private showers (yo – in a co-ed bathroom) were only large enough for his body, and no more. I became the mom that wanted to hold on a bit longer, and maybe even not leave when we were set to. After four or five years of butting heads, we were back in a space where I didn’t want to let him go. Amazing how that works, isn’t it?
I want my kid to have a ball in college. I want him to create memories for years to come. Inside jokes with friends that he makes on campus, and I want him to be challenged to the point that it makes him want to be a better thinker on all accounts. I want him to tap into his ability to give back to those who may not have gotten the same chance that he did growing up. I want him to make the Nicholes name better than it was when his dad was the same age, and a template in which the Nicholes to follow will call upon.