Viewpoint: One of us is ready for college ...

Posted at 7:31 AM on Aug 1, 2017



Within weeks of moving to Statesville in 2003, our family took a very low-key tour of First Presbyterian Preschool, where Josh tried out the toys and tiny chairs while we stressed over enrolling him in his first school.

Thanks to the calming influence of then-Director Susan Deal, the tour and first day of preschool that soon followed were happy milestones.

Fast forward to 2017, which found Josh testing out dorm beds and lecture-hall chairs while we toured potential colleges this summer while we stressed over sending him away for the first time.

There was no comforting Mrs. Deal to hold my hand as the tour guides talked about seminars and internships and opportunities to study abroad. It was just the two of us — parents wading into uncharted waters — and a rising junior who is chomping at the bit for all life has to offer.

Just as I was all those years ago at preschool, I am excited for the incredible opportunities the world holds for Josh. From his dream of playing college soccer to hands-on research with professors to the intramural wiffle ball team, the future is wide open for challenges, learning and fun.

All of that is great. The one small problem? I feel left behind.

The mother in me wants to watch him as he meets new friends in his dorm, figures out how to do his own laundry, body slams his teammates in celebration over a goal or leads the discussion in a class.

Our lives have been entwined from the very beginning. How is it possible that he will be starting his own — without me — in just two short years?

We toured eight campuses this summer, and while that experience may have helped Josh decide where he will apply, it was even more helpful for me in recognizing that my baby is almost ready to fly the nest.

Unlike our days at First Pres, if there’s an ice cream social to start the school year, I won’t be invited. And I won’t be the first face he sees every day when his classes are done. I won’t even be the last face he sees before going to bed.

For that, I will never be ready. But just like when he walked into preschool without tears, ready for a new adventure, I’m proud that he is.

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