Hanging on for Dear Life.

Another edition of You Asked for it.

So, no secret here. I sent my baby boy off to Radford University last month. It was actually much easier than I expected to leave him there, walk the two miles back to our car (if you have been involved in college move in day, you know what I’m talking about) and drive away.

I think it was easier because I spent the entire previous year mourning that day in advance.

Some thoughts to (maybe) help with the transition:

1. They are going to want to make all their own decisions. Let them think that they are. Continue working your momma magic in the background.

2. I hated the thought of senior year beginning because I knew how quickly it would pass. The Wild Boy was over Senior year in August. The August before senior year began.

3. I purchased every bit of spirit wear and senior related items I could get my hands on. The Wild Boy’s response? “Meh.” If I had to do it all over again? I would buy every bit of spirit wear and senior related items I could get my hands on. I was determined to Be There and Be Present for every. single. thing. And, I was.

4. Don’t be sucked into the crazy that is the emotions of a teenager in his (or her) senior year of high school. Seriously. The Wild Boy was surly, angry, huffy, loving, huggy, smiling all in the span of a nano second. I tried to keep up and respond accordingly at first. Big. Mistake. It made me surly, angry, huffy and hurt my feelings. It took me a few months to let it go. We were all better for it when I did.

5. Grades are important. Perfection is not. I wanted The Wild Boy to go out with a bang. He just wanted to make it through. (See #2 above.) So I kept up with his grades and nudged (and pushed) when needed, but in the end…he really wanted to be successful, also.

*welcome to Susan’s fantasy world*

6. Invest in several cases of good quality wine. You’re going to need it. Not that I condone self-medicating with a bottle glass of wine, but it just might help you get through the initial months of hearing your Senior mumble, “see ya” (if you’re lucky) as they slam the door on the way out and you and your spouse sit in the living room looking at each other and all you hear is the deafening silence. By the time May rolls around, you will finally be accustomed to it (and to the stranger you spent years passing on the stairs as you both dashed off in different directions, with different kids.)

7. Be prepared for your husband to respond quite differently than you do. Case in point. My Man squelched his emotions by purchasing vehicles. And learning to ride a Harley.

8. Focus on getting everything together for the dorm room. If your Senior is a boy, you will have to. If your Senior is a girl, all you will have to do is be prepared to shell out big bucks.

9. Don’t expect to hear thank you, I’m sorry, I love you, I’ll miss you, you’re the best parents ever, etc. If you don’t expect to hear them, you will be beyond jubilant when you actually do hear these things (and you will. Eventually.)

10. Enjoy every single second. Securely store every bit of it in your heart to pull out and remember come September. When it is just you, that stranger you are married to and a big fat glass of wine sitting in the living room watching the Nats play, wondering where all the years went, talking about your aches and pains and lack of sleep and “the good old days.”

Bonus hint: Don’t follow your son or daughter too closely on The Twitter or you just might read
he or she posted something like, “just signed up for skydiving.” Trust. Me. You don’t want to have to read that and try to live out the next few months with any semblance of normalcy that might involve sleep or calm or less than a bottle a night of cheap red wine as you await the inevitable Go Pro video on Facebook.

Also. Be prepared to text your freshman child things you never thought you would. Such as, “please stop referring to your RA as a ‘commie’ on The Twitter.” 

P.S. About a month after move-in day, you will discover that you can now spend lots of quality time together with your spouse doing whatever you want to do. I will let you decide if that is a good thing…or not.

Good. Luck.

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You Asked for it…Part 1.

Welcome to my You Asked for it Series. Today’s post is the first in this series. Future ramblings will possibly include: Surviving Your Child’s Senior Year or as I like to call it: The Year I Consumed Mass Quantities of Black Dog and Cried…a lot.

Okay, so maybe not, but today, whilst I enjoy my morning sitting in my second favorite place in the world, The Back Porch, I’m going to reflect on the following post idea suggested by my friend and neighbor, Mrs. D:

If I could change one thing in my life, what would it be? 

My vain and flippant side immediately reached straight for the impossible to attain: my current age. I quickly tossed that aside, however. Not because it is unattainable. Because I actually don’t mind my current age of 45 53. It is true, however, that I am definitely not happy with the current state of my health, weight and stress level at this ripe age of 53. And while that is definitely something I want to change, and I am in the process of changing, that still is not the topic of today’s post. Buckle up. It’s going to get bumpy.

Regret. Not for things I did do. For things I didn’t do and should have, could have done. With each thing I regret not doing, it all came back to one thing: fear. I was, and still am, a big sissy when it comes to new things; to stepping out of my comfort zone. And, trust me on this, my comfort zone is the size of a postage stamp…anything outside of that…forget about it.

There have been periods of my life where I allowed…yes, I…allowed the fear to Consume. Me. Going off to a huge university (pre-med at the University of South Florida) after spending the previous two years in a very tiny DoD school overseas, I was completely overwhelmed by fear. So much so that most days I struggled to leave my dorm room. Obviously, I didn’t last long there. But worse than that, I had no idea what was wrong with me. And clearly, I thought, something was seriously wrong with me, which only compounded the problem. I didn’t know who to talk to about it…couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I mean, it was so obvious to me that I was mentally unsound…no one else I knew vomited at just the thought of trying to make her way across a campus of 23,000 students to sit in a classroom of 600 to listen to a lecture. No one else I knew never went to a single lab class because they got lost finding it the first day of classes and were too afraid to ask anyone for help.

Since then, I have missed out on so many jobs, trips, and even relationships, due to that one thing I wish I could change. Because I still struggle with it. I still fear new situations, meeting new people, and even hanging with people I do know. For example, I went to a neighborhood end of summer party last night. I felt the old familiar apprehension creeping in all day and I chose to ignore it. Periodically throughout the evening I could feel it rise up and I would push it back down again. I caught up with ladies I’ve known for 20 years, but haven’t spent much time with, face to face. I truly enjoyed myself and am so happy I went. Was I completely comfortable while I was there? Nope. Not in the least. But, I did it.

Reading back over this, it all seems so silly…this fear thing. The worst part is that it is so stinking real. Some days I feel like it is an old friend that, initially, wraps comfort around me to warm me and keep me safe, before quickly tightening to strangle me and cut me off from life.

Today, I am choosing to fight back. And, as Mrs. D. admonished me a few days ago: to live…abundantly.

Keep those suggestions coming cuz this one was so very easy to write about…not…

And, oh yes, you can bet it took me quite a long while to get past my fear and push the publish button on this one.