Thursday, August 20, 2015

Off To College!

Tomorrow is the day Max's Dad & Mom sends Max off to college. Jesus, where has this time gone? It was about 6 months ago, or so it seems, we were dropping him off at kindergarten. It seems like a month ago we were touring the new middle school. It seems a week ago we were sending him to the same high school Max's Uncle attended. It seems like yesterday that Max was still living with us. Oh it was. Sometimes what seems like yesterday actually was yesterday. If I could stop time, believe me, I would. Not to keep me young, but to keep Max young.

Going off to college was overwhelming 40 years ago, when I left. Christ, I was scared shitless. And I had pretty much been so independent I could handle anything. Except I couldn't. Two weeks into the college experience, I was walking back to the dorm from a night class when suddenly I became so vulnerable and unsure of myself, I sat down on a bench in the middle of the campus and cried. I missed my home, my parents, my brother, my dog, my safety net. I was ready to come home and quit. Thank goodness it was a time when no cell phone existed, no social media existed, no way for me to cry for help. I had to tough it out. And I did. But it was rough, real rough.

I don't want it to be rough for Max. I want it to be easy for him. But I know it will not be. He is much less independent than me. He counts on his mother and me to be there for him. And I fear we won't be when it gets hard. Actually I fear he won't ask us to be there. I didn't. I gutted it out on my own and dammit I wish I hadn't. I wish I had the options kids have today. The cell phones, the social media, the skype, the easy access to help. I had a collect call back home. And the United States Mail. I wrote my Dad a lot. Always addressed it to his office. It wasn't so much to ask for anything, it was more of a hey I'm still here, and I think about you a lot. I hope Max does that, only by text or email or cell phone. That would have been so great in 1975.

Max is a lot like me. Socially uncomfortable. Shy. A bit of a stick in the mud. But so much smarter than me. But nowhere near as street smart. That bugs me. Did we coddle him too much? Did we prepare him for life? Did we concentrate too much on being his buddy and not his parents? I hope not. He will probably be all right, but what if he isn't? That's on us. That concerns me.

Damn, it's like I'm going into a new chapter of life too. The whole empty nest shit doesn't bother me at all. I talk to Max's Mom all the time. It's not like we'll sit around in silence. Sitting around, yes. Silence, hardly. Just wait till Donald Trump comes on TV with another of his simpleton appealing terrific "ideas". She'll be begging for silence. But with Max not here, not coming in at midnight or 1 am or whenever, I will be very empty. Does he need me anymore? Does he treasure any memories? Will he ever come home? These are all concerns I have rattling around in my low self esteem brain.

I know kids every year, millions of them, go away to school. And 99.9% of them make bad choices at some point. What will be Max's bad choices? We never drank or smoked around him. I yelled a lot, as I always have, and he yells too. I am reminded of the old Taxi TV show where Jim, an intelligent straight A student at Harvard, meets Tom Hanks and eats the funny brownie and the rest is history. I know its a bizarre thing to think of, but this is my mind at this time.

Are you sure I can't stop time?

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