College freshman. Is my kid ready? Did I remember everything? Did they pack what I told them to?Will they wash their clothes? Will they wash their sheets? Did I get the right meal plan?Can they cook enough to sustain life? Do they have enough money for supplies? Will they go to bed at a reasonable hour? Will they get to class on time? Will their roommate want to grow drugs in the closet? Will they get something pierced?? Will they get a tattoo???
I am one year outside of all these questions, and a few more. Was I a wreck like many of you last year? Yep. Was I lost without my son for a bit getting used to his empty room? Yep. Did I miss the sound of his drums blasting throughout the house and shaking the windows? Yep. Was it the right thing to let him go and find the power to propel his own wings into flight? Yep.
To my mama and daddy friends as you tearfully, or maybe joyfully, pack up your kids, reluctantly releasing them into a new world, I want you to listen in to something very important. In case you didn’t know, YA DONE GOOD!
From the time kids enter our world we work tirelessly to make life the best it can be for them. We have dreams of all kinds for them. We get lost in the drama of each school year, worrying over signing reading logs, math excel, red cups during lunch, the premier of the recorder or wondering why no kid ever sees the bottom of their backpack. Then our top dog falls on the bottom of the pole again, trying to figure out combination locks, sharing a locker with someone who butterflies the lock, changing classes, elective courses, new classmates, selecting your own lunch and mom saying you can’t spend $10 on one meal. Blink three times and pat your head once. High school. Mom will be all over your case about grades and what one letter on a report card means. Blink once and touch your toes. Hold it there because they are about to start driving and we need extra blood in our brains to maintain calm. Blink two more times and pat your own back. Your child worked hard their senior year, on their senior projects, at their job, on college applications, suffered the agony of the SAT, the ACT and thrill or perhaps the agony of college acceptance or rejections. It is ok. All those little moments that seemed so bigly are now bits of a larger puzzle that is coming together beautifully.
In case you didn’t know, please remind yourself that you have taught your child well. Your child is ready because you lovingly and sacrificially placed each piece of their puzzle of life together to create a glorious tapestry. In case you didn’t know, your child appreciates all that you have done.
Now blink once and hold your breath for 10 seconds.
Did time stand still? Aw dang! We try so hard to make time stand still when our kids are young. In case you didn’t know, you gave them the courage to fly. Now, if no one is looking it’s okay to give yourself a giant hug, before you grab the kleenex and pack the car.
Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, August 2017
Wow I can’t believe it’s been a year already. Such wisdom here Gatewood. A good message I am passing on to a couple of friends who are in the midst of packing up their child to head off to college for the first time. They, you, we all need that encouragement to hang in there and tell yourself I did good. Thanks for blessing us with this reminder.
Thanks Chris. Tried to have a little fun but share my own truths too.
Thank you Gatewood for sharing your sweet and spot-on advice for parents. Working on campus and seeing parents drop their students off with such joy and trepidation brings me almost to tears every semester. Loving parents raise loving children – that includes we old timers here on campus supporting the new generation. Together we will hold each other up.
I love this Gatewood. It is spot on and just what I needed. 😊