Monday, January 7, 2008

Cutting the apron strings

Why is it so hard to let go? Our oldest son left last fall for his first year of college--17 hours away from home. He's been looking forward to this next step in his life and eagerly preparing for it. I've been happy for him because he's so ready. So why did he seem like such a little boy when I left him last fall? He came home for only two days over Thanksgiving, but we've had him for three whole weeks over the Christmas holidays. He flies back on Thursday. I worry that somehow he's not ready--that there's an area somewhere that I've missed in preparing him to be grown up and out on his own. I trained him to be responsible. I trained him to do the right thing. I trained him to make the right choices.
And yet, still I find out that he has trouble getting out of bed for his first hour class. I grit my teeth, wondering what I could have done to hone that rough spot down into submission a little better. And then I remember that I always had trouble getting out of bed on time. Sheesh, I still have trouble getting into work on time.
One day he called home to ask his dad how to fix holes in the wall. Apparently he and some of his dorm buddies got a little carried away with wrestling. I groaned at this destruction of property, accidental though it was. Then I remembered that his father had a penchant for wrestling in the dorm when we were in school. At one point he and his wrestling partner cracked the ceiling in the room below theirs.
He's staying up until one o'clock in the morning, doing homework. Or talking. Or something. As I head to bed at midnight, setting my alarm for five in the morning, I worry that he's only getting five hours of sleep. How will he survive?
He's not eating regularly and he's skipping breakfast. Surely that will affect his studying and comprehension abilities. There's a reason they call it the most important meal of the day. But then, I never ate breakfast in college until I had a free hour third period when I would go to the coffee shop and order a bagel and a coke.
It's funny how he seems to be doing a lot of the same things we did. We survived. Maybe he will too. And then maybe someday he'll go through the agony of watching his son head off to college. To learn the same things, to make the same mistakes. I'd laugh at him then, but I'll probably be worrying right along beside him. After all, someone's got to show him how it's done.

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