A Perpetual Student


Each of us are perpetual students in one way or another. Each day brings opportunity, new lessons, old lessons, new topics, old topics, and life experience. What kind of student are you?

Way back in my high school years, the student body sorted itself into groups.

Teachers however, sorted us into different categories. Good students, average students, A students, bad students.

I couldn’t wait to graduate high school.  I wasn’t one of the popular kids, yet everyone knew me.  Well, to be fair, there was only 120 in my graduating class so it wasn’t that difficult. Anyway . . .  I was a good student.  No, really I was. I didn’t fare as well in college. I came to the crossroads of having to decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life. . . and well. . . you already know how that turned out.

Life is the best teacher there is.  No one can ever take an education from you.  Having that little piece of paper and the college transcript to back it up is invaluable. But learning doesn’t stop in the classroom.

We learn about  the person we are dating. We learn what the boss expects of us. We learn which restaurants to avoid. We learn which stores have better prices and better quality than the others. We learn to care for our children. A note on this later. Each day we learn lessons both good and bad. The past few days I learned that I can manage to cook meals, do my regular housekeeping (minimal) and  not vomit while having a migraine. That is an improvement. I learned how to block calls on my phone, something I had left to the hubs to do. I learned that you can make a spy device with a burner phone. I also learned something about parenting an adult child.

First, let me start with this disclaimer. When they send new mothers home from the hospital with a newborn infant in their arms or carrier, they don’t send an owner’s manual. There were mothers a lot younger than me in there with newborn babies smaller than mine. I was instantly overwhelmed. We sometimes joke that the first-born is the trial and error guinea pig and we figure out a few things that work with subsequent children. The fact is,  it’s true. Your mother is there to help you ideally in this new endeavor, but it’s a steep learning curve.

I think my first mistake was naming my child a name that meant Princess. OY! We’ve had other names over the course of her  life  that were more fitting but her birth certificate declares her Princess, and thus she acts with the entitlement that comes with the name.

Drama Princess is having to learn that adulthood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  A sharp lesson in how to treat other family members  was served up last night. Don’t get me wrong here, please. I love my kids with my whole heart. The idea is to raise your kids to become responsible adults not irresponsible overgrown kids in adult bodies. Adulting is hard. Responsible adulting is even more difficult. Parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever had. I thought things were rough when they were teens. Nope, doesn’t even compare to young adulthood while they are still living at home.

Seeing the results when the light dawns, the lessons are learned, and you know they get it – priceless.

Well done grasshopper number one, well done.

 

 

Shift


Today is the day.

The counter has  a few hours left on it, at which time I will be hitting the road to retrieve my eldest spawn – I mean daughter.

The past two days have been grueling; fighting a migraine with a to-do list a mile long, storms raging through the area, power outages, (hard to vacuum when there’s no electricity) all while the clock ticks away.

Every item of mine that was in the room is moved. If you don’t count the bed, dresser, bookshelf – all of which we paid for. You understand that our kids don’t see it that way though, right? Last year at this time she  gave us fits because we gave her mattress away when she went to college.  The mattress that we bought for her, for a full-sized bed, that had a “nest” indent in the middle when  the younger daughter got the bigger room, and she would get the twin bed for the 3 months out of the year that she was home. Technically we didn’t give it away.  The guys hauled it off when we got the new one for the other daughter.

She has already started in about we need to buy her a futon.  She’s 21,  if she wants a futon she can buy it herself.

There will be a lot of shifting  over the next several weeks. She will have to adjust to our schedules. She will have to maintain her room to a certain level of cleanliness. (Oh, trust me. I’m far from a white-gloved inspector) She will be expected to pull her own weight around here which means helping out with household chores once again.

I absolutely love her to pieces,  but she’s about to get a slap of reality.  My wonderfully talented and gifted daughter has decided that she’s not going back to school. With one year left to achieve her degree, she’s quitting. So, it’s time to enter the workforce.  She doesn’t seem to understand that she’s basically pushed her timeline forward by a year without the benefit of a degree.

Her student loans will come due in six months. We aren’t paying them for her.

She doesn’t have a car and expects to use ours to get a job. Problem is, that car has 200000 miles on it.

At 21, making adult decisions she will get to experience adult consequences.  You know, you try to  help them avoid the same problems that you’ve had to deal with, but they don’t see it.  As parents, we want the best for our kids.

We want them to do better than us and we try to shelter them from the same stupid mistakes that we’ve made. But those mistakes help us learn  how to do things better, how to manage our lives. Is it  a good thing then to shelter them from experiencing them?

There will be a shift on our part to help her but not coddle her. She’s not 2 anymore. She’s 21. I don’t want to be an enabler, and I don’t want to be harsh.

This is new territory for all of us. God give me strength – and wisdom. I need lots of wisdom.

With anything new, it’s a learning curve. Learning a new software. Learning a new job. Learning to live with your adult child when they’ve been on their own for a while. There will be snags,  rough spots, and testing of boundaries. But at the end of the day, our daughter is back home safe and sound with us and we won’t be worried about what she’s doing. We may be praying for answers and the patience to not engage in senseless arguments but we will know that she is alright.

colorful sunset

The future is full of opportunities, possibilities, and the road to success. Whichever road that may be.

As I sit and enjoy my last few hours of freedom, I mean quiet. . . . . I can’t wait  to have her home but I am still anxious about the next few weeks. My family means everything to me. This wasn’t in my outline for life. But then again, the best stories have sudden twists and turns.

I know this one is going to be good.

Write on my friends, write on.

Ellie