Motherhood: Pride, Stress & Fear of a College Application

My son has begun the process of applying to university and it is overwhelming on a lot of levels.  I am proud beyond measure that he wants to go to college and has a clear vision of what his future looks like.  It is stressful because the amount of paperwork is overwhelming and intimidating. It fills me with fear because his days at home are numbered and he has one foot out the door already.  My baby is almost 18 years old.

Sometimes I look at my son across the dinner table and I see an infant. Sometimes he will call me and I hear the voice of a four year old on the other end of the line. Sometimes when he says goodnight I think about following him into his room to tuck him in and pray he will ask me to stay with him until he falls asleep like when he was young.  Sometimes I want to cry at how fast the time has gone by as my beautiful baby became a man.

I don’t remember the process of going to college being so daunting. There is so much to do, and everything has a deadline. It is also expensive.  With all the application fees, and trips to visit the colleges, it is a lot of money before he even gets into a school.  I have been dreading this time since he was born, but I have also been saving for this day since he was born.  He will go wherever he wants.  I believe in him and he believes in himself.

Everything about his going to college makes me cry.  I honestly do not know what I will do when he leaves. He travelled a lot this summer and I wondered from room to room not quite sure what to do with myself.  Yes, I did sleep in his room a couple of times when I missed him so much it hurt.  I am not embarrassed or ashamed of how much I love my son.  It has been him and me for a long time. He is my heart and I am unapologetic about it.

My child will thrive in college. He is amazing and the world is waiting for him to conquer it. I will be fine.  I will stay busy with work, friends, sending care packages, counting days until he comes to visit, waiting for my phone to ring, dating losers, and acquiring cats. I’m kidding.  By kidding of course I mean I am totally done with dating losers.  Everything else is pretty accurate. It will be a new life for both of us and I have 11 months to embrace it.

This time next year my son will be doing amazing things. I am proud of him and proud of me that I raised such a wonderful human being.  He is smart and wise, brave and fearless, funny and charming, kind and compassionate.  I can sit back and find peace in knowing that people will meet him and think he is amazing.  I have done my job and done it well. The challenge now is knowing I can trust him to be all he can be and not worry all the time.

I am going to try and only cry when I am alone and not let my son see it. All I can do is try.  My son knows my emotions are coming from love and he is a trooper. He has taught himself to not roll his eyes and simply pass the Kleenex. He is patient with me. For now. After a few months of my spontaneous crying from something as simple as his telling me what he wants for dinner, it will eventually get old, and the eye rolling will return.

Millions of kids go off to college and do great.  Millions of parents send off their kids to college and do great.  I am one of those mothers who is certain no other mother loves her kid as much as I love mine.  Lucky for me my kid gets it.  And so it begins.  The next three months will be about getting my kid into the college of his dreams and I believe it will happen because we have each other, we have hope, and we are keeping the faith.