Hi! I’m a mom of two college aged students; one an entering freshman and the other finishing up their third year, both studying at Northeastern University.
Roller Coaster rides, Tilt a Whirl, and Log Flumes all are amusement park experiences with which I can relate this summer and I hate amusement park rides. I’m the experienced bag and camera holder for anyone on any trip taken. Thus, this experience is challenging to say the least!
As we begin the count down to move in day in August, the up and down roller coaster relationship between my daughter and myself continues. On one hand, we are so very proud of the accomplishments, successes, and perseverance that it has taken to achieve what she has. She truly worked hard and demonstrated excellent skills. However, on the other hand, couldn’t we use some of those skills and success to pick the shoes off the middle of the kitchen floor or place the dishes into the dishwasher? As soon as I’m ready to act like a Mom and begin to nag and complain, a voice in my head says, “you will miss those shoes in September” or “you will miss having to clean those dishes in October” and I back down, count to 10 or 100, or go for another run.
Every day and sometimes several times within an hour, I realize that the expectations that we’ve incorporated into a lifetime are being tested and challenged. She is beginning to pull away and demonstrate her increasing independence. She states, “You won’t know what I’m doing in October, so why do I have to check in now” or “I’m going to college, Mom” are frequently heard around our house. “Isn’t this what we have been working towards all these years?” I ask myself as I convince myself not to argue, complain or issue any edicts. However, as often as she pushes back against expectations, she also asks for help, spends time voluntarily with family or talks about relationships with old friends and the uncertainty of finding new friends. Sometimes she is a young adult ready to take on the world and sometimes I see my young daughter staring back at me in that young adult’s face. It’s a challenging time.
I realize that she will be on her own in October, but she is still the daughter of the house, the baby of the family, and our child. As she grows and develops, makes decisions, changes her mind, and makes more decisions, we will be there to support her, encourage her, scold her, and provide warm caring unconditional love, even while we climb to the heights of the emotion and downwards to the depths, and then back up again on this roller coaster ride. Hopefully, we will not have whiplash by September.
-Kristine Reilly, Northeastern Parent