Preparing for the Next Stage of Parenthood

Parenthood – I’m Not Ready for College!

 

This has been an extremely tough last couple of weeks for me.  I am going to soon have two kids in middle school and one will be a senior in high school.  This is where I must start to prepare for the next stage in parenthood, the growing up to young adult stage.

No one told me this part of parenthood would be so heart-wrenching.  Not in a bad way or anything, but how is it that you could love someone so much that it actually pains you?  Logically it’s known that your children eventually grow up and leave you.  They fly away from the nest and have a life of their own.  It’s what all of us parents want, right?  That said, I’m not ready for it.

My oldest who will be a senior next school year started out in the elementary school right down the street.  It’s the same one that we will be saying good-bye to forever on the 29th of May.  We have been at that school every school year since my oldest started kindergarten and now, my youngest will be moving on to 6th grade middle school.  Meanwhile, I have a middle child who will be in 8th grade next year….and will soon graduate and move on to high school.  My oldest is at the stage where she is starting to think and plan for her future.  This coming up senior year she will be starting to look at colleges and applying to them.  She will be thinking about moving out, or going away to school, or …not.  It’s a big year for her, and for us as parents.  I thought watching her learn to drive was scary, college bound is an exciting yet scary time.  I’ll worry.  That’s what I do best.

My son has been thinking about his future too.  He wanted to go to college to be a video game designer and now he’s thinking about going into the engineering field.  And my youngest, well, she wants to be a police officer.  When did we start talking about careers anyway?  My oldest just discovered that she wants to become a photojournalist.  She’s thinking of going to a local community college to take her gen-ed classes and then transfer to Columbia College Chicago as a junior.  She’s doing this because she hates the “D” word!  DEBT!!!!  She doesn’t want to have a lot of it and I admire her for that.  She’s using her head and while most of her friends will attend a 4-year university, she will focus on real-word experience, internships and saving money.

The other day I started to cry.  I’ve been an emotional mess for the last couple weeks and I think it’s because all of this talk about college and careers made me anxious.  Then reality hit me and I realized with my oldest, she’s planning on going to a community college {that’s CLOSE to HOME!!!!!}, so she won’t be going anywhere for a few more years, and the other two, well, I still have a good 5-8 years with them close to me.  So, why worry about tomorrow when I can focus on them today! 🙂  Soon they will be out of the house and I’ll miss them, but for now, I will treasure every giggle and every fight.

Do you have teens?  How do you, or are you coping with them being away at college?  What do I get to look forward to in a year or so?  Please share your parenting/college story.