They All Inevitably Grow Up

Exactly one month from today, my oldest will be graduating from high school. I spent all year (actually the past 4 years, for the interest of full disclosure) mentally preparing for this. As the college offers came in and the eventual acceptances to all of the schools he applied to, I offered insight and advice when asked. I didn’t have to help him decide where he wanted to go: the minute he saw the criminal justice program at one school he immediately knew that was the school for him. It wasn’t the most prestigious of the schools that he had been accepted to, but it met his criteria: it was a small campus, quiet town, and had the programs he was interested in. And he was accepted into his top choice school, Salem State. He considered the closer schools, but UMass Amherst was too big for his liking and the other schools didn’t quite have the program he really wanted. Salem was perfect. Plus, he loved the added bonus of walking around the area of the witch trials. It was in-state, as affordable as college can be, and it made him happy. I supported that decision.

There have been the battles, reminding him to get off his butt and apply for scholarships. Reminding him about other deadlines. Reminding him that there’s no secret trust fund to pay for his college tuition. Telling him to get his scholarship letters to the school. But, it’s been an experience for sure. It was a learning adventure, learning to step back and watch him decide the trajectory of his life. This was his call. If he wanted to find a job and skip college, that would be his call. But he has his grand dreams of becoming a forensic psychologist and helping to solve crimes. He wanted to do his part in making the criminal justice more fair, from the inside. It’s not my job to tell him what to dream; it’s my job to support him where I can.

Yesterday he signed up for his freshman seminar and orientation. It would be virtual due to the pandemic. It made everything so real. I’m happy for him to move onto this next chapter of his life. But it’s going to be sad. You dedicate so many years trying to grow these babies into adults, getting them ready for the real world, that it does become a bit sad when you have succeeded. The most rewarding of sadness?

I’m excited for him to get out on his own. I’m hopeful for him. I have said for a long time that this boy was going to change the world. I was wrong; this young man is going to change the world. Everything he has done until this point was just minor in comparison to what he’s going to be capable of in the future. He may be leaving to college far sooner than I would hope, but he’s ready. I just hope I’m as ready as he is.