Thursday, August 22, 2013

What a difference a year makes....

Just about a year ago I drove to CO with JD, an excited, young, eager college Freshman. He was ready to take on the world and start his "adult" life.  High expectations of himself and grand plans.  He had a  challenging or somewhat normal freshman year...one filled with experimentation, learning, understanding that you have to go to class, growing, testing and trying to find himself.

As summer came around he was talking of living abroad, staying in CO or adventuring someplace.  But the reality of debt and too much fun was looming over him so he headed home.  Coming home is a harsh reality for the parents and the kid alike.  We expected our kid to come home changed but still somewhat the same and he expected to return to a college dorm. We were both surprised and had a lot of adjusting to do.  Yes is an "adult" by law but certainly not by action and yes is is somewhat financially supporting himself but not by any means 100%. We had many, many conversations about what supporting yourself REALLY means.   So we set rules and boundaries  he balked, we flexed and came to an "agreement" of sorts.  Curfew was too early for him and too late for us- as any parent knows we don't really sleep until our chickens are in.  Many sleepless nights... 

As a parent my job was basically done...he was not listening and is nearly 19 yet he still is a kid and needs guidance.  So how much can we still "parent" and influence and how much do we love and support.  A fine line and one that causes havoc.  Again, where is manual on how to manage this stage of parenting?  We loved, we battled, we struggled and made memories.   He fell in love and debated not returning to CO a few times and the day before departure was still ambivalent.  We had many late nights due to "issues" but also many listening, offering suggestions and working out options.  

He needed to go .... I had to be tough in saying if he stayed it would NOT be like summer. Early curfew (my terms), school full time, working full time, household responsibilities, no "sleep overs" And if you don't follow the rules, you are out.  I would love to have him stay, he is my son, but he needs to go and continue to grow, learn and he may fall down again and again but that is how men are made.  With a heavy heart he drove away, with his awesome housemate who was with us for 5 days and his puppy Diego... (don't get me started on that one)

Kids bring so much joy....but they also test, try and push us in way that are unimaginable. I planned on solid sleeping but not so much- that will come.  Life right is not about swim,bike run but about family.