This one has always been really hard for me. I want so much to help my boys (men really) and yet want to encourage them to make their own decisions and choices.
This is compounded with Ben, who wants to make all of his own decisions but doesn't always have all of the information for what I would consider major decisions, and then there are days he wants me to tell him which socks to wear!
I remember well all of the work it took to get our first born off to college. He knew from 8th grade where he wanted to go and that was the only place he applied. When the second half of his senior year rolled around he started to doubt his decision which created a lot of stress. As soon as he arrived on campus, he again confirmed that was where he belonged. Whew, crises averted!
We drove away and I cried as a good mom should saying:
"I have so much more I was supposed to teach him."
Glenn settled in to his school year and I was finally able to relax after all of the paperwork, deadlines and plans that go along with sending your first off to college.
Glenn called me 3 months into his first semester and said:
"I'm thinking about transferring to Pitt."
To which I immediately replied:
"Let me know how that works out for you!"
Those words really tumbled out of my mouth but I was so proud of myself because I finally realized that this was the time he needed to decide what he wanted for himself, and figure out how to make it happen, without me doing all the work.
Glenn ended up staying at his first choice and even did a 5th year to obtain his master's degree.
Our middle son Dan took a gap year after he graduated from high school, which I swore I would never let any of my children do fearing they would never go back to school. Dan worked full time at the camp where he spent his summers and it was the best choice for him.
The following year he spent a year at Montgomery County Community College and took all his mandatory classes (while saving a boatload of money).
We then said:
"You successfully lived away from home, and then successfully completed your college classes, let's put them both together"
Dan then transferred to a college in Georgia where he was actually given an academic scholarship because he did so well at the community college.
There is a fine line between supporting and enabling and it is often blurred. We don't want to see our children struggle or fail, but the times of stress can actually bring the best lessons. Trees that are never exposed to wind and storms have shallow roots. Bigger storms cause deeper roots and greater strength.
I'll always be here for you,
Love you more,