Just a little chaos

The past month has been a little more “excitement” than I like to have in my life, what with my son’s academic dismissal from school in December. Who would’ve thought we’d need to be regrouping so much for a kid who took his first college class at Skidmore when in eighth grade and got an A, who had a perfect math SAT (and not far behind other scores) and an $80,000 merit scholarship to Northeastern University? Not that I ever took things for granted, but holy hell, I didn’t expect this.

I do feel better about his upcoming new situation after spending the weekend in Connecticut. We had a little sit-down with his future boss, someone who has known my husband since he was under 10 years old and my husband actually worked for as well when in college. He is paying our kid the usual wage for what my husband dubbed “the knuckleheads” — basically those without specific construction skills. He or one of his crew will be picking our boy up at the crack of dawn to start work. It’s going to be a cold winter for him, so we need to buy him heavy duty outdoor work clothes.

We also found him an apartment in a nice building in a safe neighborhood. We had a bit of adventure looking at places in less-desirable neighborhoods, which rightly scared some shit out of my kid. Thankfully, the place he’ll be living is also owned by a family friend who wouldn’t normally rent to a kid my son’s age with his utter lack of references and credit history.

At least I can feel ok about who he’s working for and that his landlord is a good man. People who care about him and his wellbeing. It’s a cushier situation than most people would have under the circumstances, although it’s not glamorous by any stretch of the imagination.

My heart aches realizing he’s moving out and probably never coming back. It’s a few years earlier than it was supposed to happen. I’m glad I’ve got plenty of my own stuff to keep me busy, but this mama can’t says she was ready for all this.

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20 thoughts on “Just a little chaos

  1. I feel for you. hopefully his foray info “the real world” will wake him up to the golden opportunity he has at Northeastern.

    As I drove my oldest daughter back to WPI last week I kept thinking, this is the last time I’ll do this. All Christmas break I kept tossing those, “this is the last time…” thoughts away. I kept telling my self to enjoy the moment and think about it later.

    I tried to enjoy the moments and not rush them. We played shuffle board in the middle of the night, both for the first time. We were together.

    Your son sounds very smart. I’m sure he will find his way. Maybe he wants to take a different path than what we as parents expect/hope for.

    It is difficult to take the more hands-off approach once they are “adults.” But what can you do? My youngest had a situation as college. but what could we do? Call her professor, dean or president of the college. I know some people do that, but you have to let them make their own way.

    I don’t know if any of this is helpful. As parents of college aged kids I think we share some of the same worries.

    Andy

    • The “hands off” approach is very hard, especially when as a parent you are feeling fear. He’s in this weird stage where he’s technically an adult, but mentally not really there yet. He wants his mom when it’s convenient but not when it comes to doing the responsible thing. I’m just trying to be patient and loving and supportive without being enabling or punitive. Hopefully he will find himself. He certainly is surrounded by a lot of love, and I think that goes a long way.

      I like the image of you and your daughter playing shuffleboard. I bet that memory will make her smile for many, many years.

  2. Joan S says:

    That’s great news about your son. He will be given the opportunities so everything now is up to him. It’s scary. But it was great that the family ties helped out here. As for me, I want to start all over, start all over with the knowledge I have now. Oh well, it is what it is.

    My son is doing quite well now. It took awhile, but he never was about school. I forced him through high school, then he went to go live with his father when he turned 19, which was 4 hours away. I whined and freaked out, this man was wackier than wacky.

    So yeah, his father got him a job at his company, helped him out, a few years later my son came back to town, with no job or income. Just with the decision that his father is wackier than wacky (I didn’t tell him this, he formed this opinion on his own).

    In a few short months my son got a job at a construction company. His company is crazy about him, he gets lots of praise. His boss’s mother bought my son a Christmas present. My son has the social skills of a superstar.

    I have learned to let him go, this part was hard. It will be ok. I am all over my kids all the time. We learn to live with the hands off approach after awhile. Its a balancing act. A stage of growth for us too.

  3. I am glad to see you guys working a transition plan rather than allowing him to wallow at home and maybe do some ACC classes or whatever. Definitely a tougher course, but I think probably the right one for him.

    As we get ready for high school graduation for our older son in a few months, watching him and his friends starting to go through their ‘final ___’ sequences (last night was marching band banquet, last Saturday was Variety Show, etc) … we look at him and all of them and they are all at such different points, so much potential for good and opportunities to waste that potential … maturity and immaturity all rolled into one.

    My wife asked me last night ‘why am I worried about the other shoe dropping’? I ask ‘why, was this EASY?!?’ His grades on paper look so much better than the experience we had getting him to take responsibility for his own actions in his junior year… I said, he is reaping the benefits of his skill and hard work … and his reward for his ability is even MORE hard work in an incredibly competitive and cut-throat and uncertain field! haha

    Again, sorry you had to go through this before you were ready … but another funny aside, over the last few weeks we’ve had all of the college freshmen friends of our kids around at one time or other, and chatting with their parents they are all ready for them to be gone again!

    • Yah, we were spoiled with how “easy” my son was (despite the ADHD) up until he reached his majority. My head feels like it’s still spinning. But parenting was never really about me, so I have to step back and help him the best I can without trying to manipulate, guilt or whatever. But, man, do I want to take the reigns and just tell him he’s gotta do it my way. Lol. That never works.

  4. College is not for everyone. It took me 14 years to earn my AAS. I had enough credits for a BS but in too many different areas. I also acquired certifications of completion as a travel agent, a sign language interpreter, and a medical transcriptionist. Now I’m a writer. πŸ™‚ I think the most important thing is that he isn’t sitting around doing nothing. I hope this works for him. You’re a good mom.

  5. Life changing stuff.
    One thing – although I have pushed my kids to both go to university (they are the first ever to do that in my family) I never did and I did ok – I hold a job now that most would consider only open to those with a degree etc. The experience route can work for some people

  6. Martha B says:

    You guys are incredible parents.
    As I’ve said in the past, I can relate to your son on a lot of levels. I was a bright kid. I had a solid future. I started “screwing up” in college.
    What you are doing – getting him set up with a job and safe place to live… it will mean the world to him someday. My parents didn’t do that for me. Once I failed, I was done in their book. I had to take care of myself and spend years to work my way back into everyone’s good graces. It’s definitely put a toll on my relationship with them now that I’m a functional member of society… namely, I feel more like they are my “peers” than my parents. But I digress.
    You did the right thing, and I have a feeling the outcome is going to be a happy one, and in the long run things are going to turn out really well. Your son will figure it out very soon. Construction work in the winter is no joke.

  7. I agree with Martha 100%. You are incredible parents. It might not be the path you had expected, but I have a feeling he will find his way. I am sure the chaos has your head spinning. As an aside, I am in Connecticut. If you need anything, holler. xo

  8. Syd says:

    He will find his own way, even if the path is different from what you hoped. I am glad that I was inspired by college and graduate school. Many aren’t and for one reason or another leave. I think that your son knows how fortunate he is to have you both as parents.

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