Thursday, September 23, 2010

From Kindergarten to College

It always seems that bedtime brings out the best of conversations with my kids. Perhaps it is their refusal of sleep or their secret desire to drag bedtime on into infinity with “just one more thing, Mom.” I prefer to think of it as a special time when each child has a moment of Mom’s undivided attention. Bedtime can be stressful at times and like so many other moms, I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world those special “clicks” on the mental camera for me to treasure.

This particular bedtime conversation came after a very typical Sunday...nothing special happened but the conversation brought a tear to my eye at the thoughts coming out of my sweet 5-year old girl, all the while leaving a knot the size of Texas in my throat and the flashes of my mental camera feverishly clicking away.

Seeming to mustering up all the courage in her body, my Addi stated:

“Mommy, I am worried about going to college.”

Did this really just come out of her mouth?

Zillion of things surged through my mind. Just the other day I so proudly walked her into her first day of Kindergarten. And years of life’s little moments yet to be had flickered illusionary visions. Practicing with her for endless days before her first dance recital, all dressed in her favorite color, pink. Late night study sessions before her big calculus test. Listening for hours to her excitement about the boy who paid her a compliment in homeroom. Warning her, as only a mother can, about all the woes boys can bring while watching her and her sister roll their eyes and giggle at the thoughts. Hugging her endlessly after her first broken heart, hurting deeply myself because I know it won’t be her last.

Then we jumped to college?!?!?

Why, Addi?

I think I will miss you too much. I will want to come home and see you all the time and go to our church on Sunday.

Trying to sound as convincing as I can to her while I desperately attempt to convince myself, I say:

That’s fine, Addi. You can come home whenever you want and I can come visit you all the time when you are away at college.

With tears streaming down her face, she replies:

But I won’t be able to hug you and snuggle you whenever I want.

I am quickly loosing my battle with the growing lump in my throat.

It’s ok, Addi. You know Mommy loves you SO much and I will miss you a bunch too but we can talk on the phone, see each other on the computer and visit each other all the time.

But it won’t be the same, Mommy.

There it went...That tear I had been holding back slipped over the rim of my eyelid.

College is a long time away, Addi, and I am sure by the time it gets here, you will be ready to go.

I am not so sure I will be ready for her to go.

I am not so sure, Mommy.

Clearly there is work to be done in the next thirteen years to get us
both ready.

Honey, going to Kindergarten was a big step for you and after you went, you were really glad you did because you really like it, right?

Yeah, but college is different. It is really far away and I won’t see you much.

Yep, another tear. There it went.

Seeming to have found her logic, she states:

Mommy, do you know who will go to college before me?

Who, sweetheart?

Jaykob does! So I guess I can see what it’s all about then.

Addi, would you like to pray about college and tell God about your worries?

Matter of factly, she replies:

Nope. We can pray about it when I go.

I knew the financial preparations required for college needed to be in place now, but I was certain I would have a good eight - ten years before I would need to tackle the mental side of college preparation.

Sweetheart, you can bet your bottom dollar Mommy will be on her knees praying.