Sent the 'kids' back to college Friday. As always, it's a little bittersweet, but we were all anxious to return to our own routines. I don't know what their version ofZip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah might be, but I'm sure they were whistling it as they sped out of the driveway leaving a trail of stone dust in their wake. They didn't even look over as I stood there in my nightgown waving goodbye. Just as well because that means they missed the victory dance that followed.
Coming back to the nest after the freedom of college isn't easy for either side. After being home just a few days, my son bemoaned, "This is what you do every night?!? How can you stand it?" I suppose he'll find out soon enough that the responsibilities of life and the vagaries of age require a more subdued lifestyle than that of a fratboy.
It's hard to believe my daughter is beginning her senior year. It feels like I dropped her off as a freshman just yesterday. In fact, even kindergarten doesn't seem all that long ago. A close family friend is now beginning her freshmen year at Ole Miss. I was trying to choose a meaningful gift to send her, and something I put together for my daughter three years ago came to mind.
As a parting gift, I collected college advice from her aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and various other important people in her life. It was a fascinating exercise, and I was surprised how heartfelt and thoughtful the submissions were. Obviously, I didn't include my own words of wisdom because everyone knows teenagers do NOT accept advice from their parents. However, they will sometimes be more receptive when it comes from someone else's parents - who for some bizarre reason always seem much wiser than their own.
I reviewed the sage counsel offered to Hannah full of excellent, practical guidance. I pondered what I could possibly add. What is the most important message I could offer when sending a child into the world whether they are 18, 21 or beyond? Becoming a legal adult doesn't change the sentiment nor does it necessarily guarantee a maturity level commensurate with that designation. In fact, at 57 I'm still waiting to become a full-fledged adult. Regardless, it's a good reminder for any age, and one I choose to embrace daily. My message is simply, "Never forget who you are and whose you are. If you base your choices on that reality, you'll be fine regardless of what life throws at you." From a Christian viewpoint, it's the foundation on which I stand. I am a beloved child of God. Personally, when I choose to focus on that truth, every day becomes a Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Day regardless of my circumstances. Knowing my children are as well makes letting go so much easier as God will take care of them wherever they go much better than I ever could.
I know there are a plethora of parents saying goodbye this week so will once again share a video message I made for my daughter three years ago. It encapsulates that message.