I drive E back to college today. I have to drive him of course because his crappy car died last semester and we can’t really afford to get him another one right now. Basically the luxuries in his life (a car, spending money, functional technology) have become non-existant after one semester of college. He’s going to have great “LIFE WAS WAY HARDER IN COLLEGE” stories like I do. It’s why it drives me CRAZY when people try to use the “wait until you get into the real world” line on kids in college. The only people who had it harder in the “real world” are people who had strong financial support in college. Otherwise, getting a real job with a real salary is MUCH easier than taking tough classes with homework that haunts you, that you have to figure out when to do around your minimum-wage job, all while accumulating large amounts of student loan debt and ramen noodle breath.
Yeah. For me? College was WAAAY harder than the “real world”. And now we’re setting it up that E will feel the same way! YAY!
But he’s so excited. The Spring semester at his school has their Homecoming-type celebrations (a small liberal arts school without a football team celebrates THEATRE!) and performances and parties and school-spirit type shenanigans and he’s been looking forward to this, basically since we visited the school last year. He’ll have to do it all with no spending money and no car and he’ll be borrowing textbooks from people in his classes but still…HE CAN’T WAIT.
I think there’s a fine balance in raising a young adult between being just dreadful and parental enough that they want to get out on their own. But NOT so dreadful that you A) jeapordize your relationship with them (remember – the key is having those common interests you can return to after you’ve grounded them for missing curfew) or B) require them to need therapy as an adult.
I’m not sure where we are on that balance yet. I nagged the shit out of him last night for the mess he made in the kitchen, so I’m definitely not making him so comfortable here that he doesn’t want to leave. But I’m hoping to not be swaying too far in the other direction.
But the truth is? You never know. You do your best, you cross your fingers, you send them on their way…and just HOPE that they find joy somewhere and it’s not in hating you.
Here’s to the Spring Semester.